The Mirage, with Matt Ruff

The Mirage, by Matt Ruff

November 9, 2001: Christian fundamentalists hijack four jetliners. They fly two into the Tigris & Euphrates World Trade Towers in Baghdad, and a third into the Arab Defense Ministry in Riyadh. The fourth plane, believed to be bound for Mecca, is brought down by its passengers.

The United Arab States declares a War on Terror. Arabian and Persian troops invade the Eastern Seaboard and establish a Green Zone in Washington, D.C….

Now, several years later, the war in America is winding down. In Iraq, an Arab Homeland Security agent named Mustafa al Baghdadi interrogates a captured suicide bomber. The prisoner claims that the world they are living in is a mirage—in the real world, America is a superpower, and the Arab states are just a collection of “backward third-world countries.” A search of the bomber’s apartment turns up a copy of the New York Times, dated September 12, 2001, that appears to support his claim.

This is not an isolated incident. Other captured terrorists have been telling the same story, and other “artifacts” have been found. The president wants answers, but Mustafa soon discovers he’s not the only interested party. The gangster Saddam Hussein is conducting his own investigation. And the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee—a war hero named Osama bin Laden—will stop at nothing to hide the truth. As Mustafa and his colleagues venture deeper into the unsettling world of terrorism, politics, and espionage, they are confronted with questions without any rational answers, and the terrifying possibility that their world is not what it seems.

Matt Ruff decided he wanted to be a novelist at the age of five. His first novel Fool on the Hill became an underground cult hit in both the United States and Germany. Ruff followed up with the science-fiction satire Sewer, Gas & Electric. It too attracted a cult following.

It was with his third novel, Set This House in Order, that Ruff began to receive broader critical recognition. Set This House in Order was chosen as a New York Times Notable Book and won the James Tiptree, Jr. Award, a Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award, and a Washington State Book Award. It was also nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. In 2006, while he was writing his most recent novel, Bad Monkeys, Ruff received a Literature Fellowship in Prose from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Ruff lives in Seattle with his wife, Lisa Gold.



Event date: 
Sunday, February 19, 2012 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Event address: 
157 Winslow Way E.
98110 Bainbridge Island
The Mirage: A Novel Cover Image
please email ( or call (206.842.5332) for price
ISBN: 9780061976223
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Harper - February 7th, 2012

Bad Monkeys: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780061240423
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Published: Harper Perennial - August 12th, 2008

Sewer, Gas & Electric (Public Works Trilogy (Grove Press)) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802141552
Availability: Special Order
Published: Grove Press - September 10th, 2004

Set This House in Order: A Romance of Souls Cover Image
ISBN: 9780060954857
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Published: Harper Perennial - January 20th, 2004

Fool on the Hill Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802135353
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Published: Grove Press - December 8th, 1997