Thursday, November 14, 2013

Featured Author: G. Willow Wilson

It is thus unsurprising that secret identities form the axis of Wilson’s fast-paced, imaginative first novel, “Alif the Unseen” — a book that defies easy categorization. Is it literary fiction? A fantasy novel? A dystopian techno-thriller? An exemplar of Islamic mysticism, with ties to the work of the Sufi poets? Wilson seems to delight in establishing, then confounding, any expectations readers may have.
~Pauls Toutonghi, "App for the Ancients"

One of our favorite new authors here at abcreads is G. Willow Wilson.  Her website sums her up as "[p]rofessional genre-bender, casual gamer, student of religion, author of critically acclaimed [Eisner Award-nominated] books and comics", but what that doesn't tell you is that Wilson, a child of atheist parents, "spent her early and mid twenties living in Egypt and working as a journalist" and during this time converted to Islam.  All her books are infused with Eastern mysticism in addition to fantasy elements, and her memoir, The Butterfly Mosque, deals directly with her conversion.

Our intrepid abcreads readers came to G. Willow Wilson via her moving memoir, but have been delighted to continue with her imaginative, exciting graphic novels and playful, genre-bending fiction. We hope you will consider checking out this author - definitely one to watch!

Graphic Novels


In bustling modern-day Cairo, the lives of a drug runner, a down-on-his-luck journalist, an American expatriate, a young activist, an Israeli soldier, and a genie are interwoven as they navigate the city's streets and spiritual underworld to find a stolen hooka sought by a wrathful gangster-magician. [from the library catalog]

Air 1: Letters from Lost Countries; Air 2: Flying Machine; Air 3: Pureland; and Air 4: A History of the Future

Blythe is a flight attendant with a philosophy degree-- and a fear of heights. And as odd as her career choice might be, it's nowhere near as strange as her life's about to get. She'll fall in love with a mysterious traveler who's either an ordinary frequent flier-- or a terrorist. In search of him, she'll travel to a country that doesn't exist on any maps, become targeted by a violent anti-terrorist group, and inevitably find herself at the center of a race to find an artifact that may change the science of flight forever. Suddenly Blythe's life is headed for the most exotic destination of all: the unknown. [from the library catalog]


The Butterfly Mosque

Documents the author's conversion from all-American atheist to Islam, a journey marked by her decision to relocate to Cairo, romance with a passionate young Egyptian, and her efforts to balance the virtues of both cultures. [from the library catalog]


Alif the Unseen

In an unnamed Middle Eastern security state, a young Arab-Indian hacker shields his clients, dissidents, outlaws, Islamists, and other watched groups, from surveillance and tries to stay out of trouble. He goes by Alif, the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, and a convenient handle to hide behind. The aristocratic woman Alif loves has jilted him for a prince chosen by her parents, and his computer has just been breached by the State's electronic security force, putting his clients and his own neck on the line. Then it turns out his lover's new fianceé is the head of State security, and his henchmen come after Alif, driving him underground. When Alif discovers The Thousand and One Days, the secret book of the jinn, which both he and the Hand suspect may unleash a new level of information technology, the stakes are raised and Alif must struggle for life or death, aided by forces seen and unseen. [from the library catalog]

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