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Reviewed by Jon Michael Miller for Readers' Favorite
My Neighbour Osama Bin Laden by Yslar Tatuky is simply not to be missed. Do not be put off by the author’s notion that he has invented a new, hybrid literary form. Yes, true, more than a novel, it reads like a love letter to humanity, and not a superficial one but one in which love means revealing all, giving his reader nothing less than everything. Yes, there is a plot—the narrator, Tatuky himself, living an obscure life in an obscure town in the nation of Georgia suddenly finds himself the hired companion of Osama bin Laden, who, rather than having been buried at sea, was smuggled to a small Georgian town. Tatuky, a man of deep knowledge and creative ambition, sets out quietly to “humanize” this maniacal terrorist. Can he possibly be redeemed? Then, as an axillary story, we are treated to an ongoing visit from Salman Rushdie. Challenging subject matter! But, Tatuky pulls it off ... and how!
Yslar Tatuky quotes the shortest book review he ever read: “This book has shown me some things.” Honestly, I initially shied away from reading this novel because of its unusual structure—the “hybrid” hype and the idea of listening to his suggested musical pieces, fine art analysis, not to mention some very long paragraphs. But, the personality and knowledge of the author drew me in and suddenly I was happily sinking into velvet, sublime quicksand. I could not put it down. The narrator is astounding in his learning, yet down to earth and personable, even funny. The narrative, if you can call it that, becomes intimate. What has My Neighbour Osama Bin Laden shown me? Jacaranda and red maple forests, double sunrises, fine food and drink, art, music, literature, philosophy—from The Big Lebowski to Karl Marx. And most of all, love, happiness, and truth. Instead of five, I wish I could give this fabulous book a thousand stars.