The Lost Civilization of Suolucidir
Somewhere in the area where Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan converge, there are the remnants of a mysterious, enticing and magnificent ancient city-state. Or maybe not! The book relates the stories of three different but tangentially related archeological hunts which occur over many years. The reader must follow the various trails, which occur within a constantly changing milieu of British imperialism, Soviet and Nazi intrigue, and Iranian fundamentalism. To add to the tale, a search for the lost tribes of Israel also finds its way into the plot.
The reader may have difficulty determining whether the novel is satire, social commentary, or allegory. There are multiple pages of expository writing with only occasional dialogue. Sometimes this is in the first person, but more commonly it is in the form of long letters to various recipients by different authors. Yet these letters all seem stylistically the same. A strangely scripted and lengthy Iranian police report interestingly provides a welcome break. There is a large amount of well-researched Jewish “inside baseball.” There are frequent font changes and a number of apparent misspellings here and there. The book features no memorable characters, because most have exotic names and pseudonyms, and they all flit in and out capriciously. To use a line from the author, there is “lots of going off into side alleys.” This book may perhaps appeal to readers who are attracted to the cerebral and introspective. Those looking for a fast-paced, Indiana Jones-type historical adventure should try elsewhere.