George V. Reilly

Review: The Unknown Terrorist

The Unknown Terrorist
Title: The Unknown Terrorist
Author: Richard Flanagan
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Grove Press
Copyright: 2006
Pages: 325
Keywords: fiction
Reading period: 29 April-4 May, 2008

A Sydney pole dancer known as ‘the Doll’ has a one-night stand with a Muslim. The next day she’s the subject of a massive witchhunt as a suspected terrorist. After 9/11, the Bali bombings, and the Iraq war, Aus­tralians are ripe for the fear­mon­ger­ing of the media. An escalating cycle of hype and fear and ever more lurid headlines plunges the Doll into a waking nightmare from which she cannot escape.

This novel indicts everyone: the ordinary people who un­think­ing­ly condone events; the security forces with their own agenda; and most of all, the media who seize on a good story without caring about the truth. It’s all too plausible, alas.

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