Sunday, January 27, 2019
Book Review: 'The Girl Who Sees the Unseen' by Ilan Arad
Asperger’s as a gift
Israeli author Ilan Arad served as a commanding officer in the Israeli Defense Forces' Paratroopers Brigade and afterwards volunteered as an operational helicopter pilot in an air force special rescue squadron. He become the Israeli Defense Forces' Air Force's spokesperson, then after Operation Desert Storm he opened his own helicopter company in the airport of Herzliya. THE GIRL WHO SEES THE UNSEEN is his debut novel.
Ilan is able to capture the degree of intensity that makes this story he has created requires in order to hold the reader’s attention. The topics may appear difficult to comprehend at first – until the first few pages inform us of the permutations of autism. Using a ‘mental disorder’ as a functional tool may not be wholly original, but the manner in which Ilan uses this to define the journey of his heroine is refreshingly positive.
The author’s synopsis clarifies how the story will proceed: ‘He is a ferocious criminal, but she isn’t able to feel fear. Twenty-four-year-old Dina, completely unaware of her striking beauty, is both fearless and socially challenged. She is unable to grasp the subtle meaning behind body language and innuendoes and cannot understand why people do not just say what they mean. Dina was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in early childhood, but with the help of her adoptive father, was able to learn many social signs. One night on her way home, Dina is sexually attacked but is able to escape and save herself. Dina decides to look for her perpetrator, and starts her own amateurish investigation parallel to the police investigation. For Dina, collecting information is a task she can easily handle; she applies her intellectual abilities, intuition, and lack of fear – turning disadvantage into advantage. Dina remains oblivious to any danger as she pursues her personal quest for justice. If she can succeed, other women will be saved as well.’
Strong writing from a fresh vantage, Ilan Arad proves to be a solid figure in the thriller genre. Highly recommended on many levels.
Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.