The brilliant UNHOLY LAND is Lavie Tidhar’s best yet

On IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE RIGHT…, Ian Sales includes Lavie Tidhar’s UNHOLY LAND among the best of 2020.

In UNHOLY LAND, the Jews were offered land in central Africa after WWI, and accepted it. They called their country Palestina. A Jewish pulp writer based in Berlin returns to Palestina, and as he explores the country’s capital, and his past, so the history of Palestina, and the story itself, begin to unravel. It’s territory Tidhar has explored before – I’m pretty sure there’s an early short story buried in part of this novel – but UNHOLY LAND is a much more effective treatment. His best yet.

NYCTALOPES feels much the same about the French edition of UNHOLY LAND, Aucune terre n’est promise (No land is promised).

Yet in another chronology, in another History, the Jews really left to colonize a small part of Africa and this is what Lavie Tidhar, sci-fi author born in a kibbutz and currently living in England tells us in this extraordinary “No land is promised”,novel that messes up dirtily and seriously questions.


Before any novel on the history of the Jews, “No Land is Promised” also questions neophytes without limits, seduced by the force of writing, the flourishing imagination and universalized by the questions it asks, the questions it imposes. A rare novel!

Translation from French courtesy of Google

On the French LIVRADDICT, user Mr. K concurs.

Superb reading between thriller, SF and metaphysical reflections on the nature of man and the notion of identity. Brilliant and damn well written.

Translation from French courtesy of Google