Author: Raymond Khoury
Description: Some reviewers here and elsewhere of Raymond Khoury’s engaging new thriller, The Sign, focus attention on Khoury’s alleged attacks on certain political and/or religious beliefs they assume he belittles. I see the novel as something other and more abstract than mere vilification of George W. Bush, religion, or global warming skeptics.
The Sign examines the power of iconography and symbology in a conflicted world teeming with deeply held and seemingly irreconcilable political, bureaucratic, religious and sociocultural ideologies. The thematic battle in the story is only superficially between one set of believers and another. Rather, the true battle over the sign in the sky is within the reader. All of us respond to various symbols one way or another, more often than not in a Pavlovian manner inculcated in us since birth by self-interested forces far beyond our control. The Sign encourages us to scrutinize the origins and mythoi underpinning each icon, symbol and sign we encounter. It urges us to contemplate how, by whom, and to what end such powerful images are used all around us, every day.
Khoury’s message in The Sign is important and thought-provoking, and it’s presented in a story well told. Khoury is adept at bringing settings exotic or ordinary to life. The action is crisp and clean, as befits an author skilled at screenwriting. The dialogue rings true, in that it reads the way people actually talk to one another. The characters are intriguingly duplicitous, realistically flawed, and struggle to varying degrees to contain or exploit their own and each others’ rapacities.
It’s a very good book. I had fun reading it and thinking about it, and I recommend it.
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