The Lost Civ­i­liza­tion of Suolu­cidir

Su­san Daitch

Foreword Reviews - - Reviews Adult Fiction - MICHELLE ANNE SCHINGLER

City Lights Soft­cover $16.95 (332pp) 978-0-87286-700-0

Daitch’s novel is In­di­ana Jones for the in­tro­spec­tive crowd—a con­tin­ual, thrilling, and har­row­ing search for his­tor­i­cal trea­sures.

Be­neath the sands of Iran lies a civ­i­liza­tion lost mil­len­nia ago, ru­mored to have housed the lost tribes of Is­rael. In Su­san Daitch’s The Lost Civ­i­liza­tion of Suolu­cidir, gen­er­a­tions of seek­ers jour­ney into per­ilous spa­ces to val­i­date the leg­end.

Dis­cov­ery can be in­ci­den­tal, even for those trained in quests. So ar­chae­ol­o­gist Ariel Bokser finds, when al­most-dis­carded pa­pers yield a clue to the lo­ca­tion of the myth­i­cal Suolu­cidir. Ariel makes his way to Iran dur­ing the fi­nal days of the Shah’s lead­er­ship, and his dis­cov­ery seems fated in­deed: he falls into the con­cealed king­dom, walk­ing streets left un­trav­eled for cen­turies. Or so he thinks.

A vi­o­lent regime change forces him out of the coun­try, bear­ing only a few de­con­tex­tu­al­ized relics. At home, he works to piece to­gether a pic­ture of life in that lost land—and finds that he was not nearly the first to make the dis­cov­ery.

Daitch’s pages take an in­trepid trip back through gen­er­a­tions of ad­ven­tur­ers, all lost, in one way or another, to the sands above Suolu­cidir. A cou­ple es­cap­ing the Nazis’ ad­vances find it—in time with two fiends who want to de­stroy it for their own gain; they, too, are pre­ceded by two jour­ney­ers who also don’t

quite be­lieve in the city un­til they see it. Again and again, the thrill of dis­cov­ery is muf­fled by his­tor­i­cal cir­cum­stance, and the lost city fades back into si­lence. Ariel, los­ing even what he smug­gled out, must learn from those pre­vi­ous fail­ures Suolu­cidir’s most en­dur­ing se­cret: some mem­o­ries are best left undis­turbed.

Found pa­pers and cau­tious bits of cor­re­spon­dence are used to flesh out the mys­ter­ies of past ex­pe­di­tions so that even en­gag­ing this story be­comes an aca­demic ex­er­cise: truths must be sifted out from in­ten­tional fic­tions, and the dis­tor­tions of time must be chipped away with sharp dis­cern­ment. Char­ac­ters be­come relics them­selves to suc­ceed­ing gen­er­a­tions, so even Ariel’s doc­u­men­ta­tion be­comes part of the city’s al­lur­ing his­tory.

Daitch’s novel is In­di­ana Jones for the in­tro­spec­tive crowd—a con­tin­ual, thrilling, and har­row­ing search for his­tor­i­cal trea­sures that pro­duces, time and again, the glit­ter­ing no­tion that the present is more pre­cious than relics of the past.

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