A wry comic novel with an acerbic wit, A Hero of Our Time is a vicious takedown of superficial diversity initiatives and tech culture, with a beating heart of broken sincerity.
Osman Shah is a pitstop on his white colleague Olivia Robinson’s quest for corporate domination at AAP, an edutech startup determined to automate higher education.
Osman, obsessed by Olivia’s ability to successfully disguise ambition and self-interest as collectivist diversity politics, is bent on exposing her. Aided by his colleague turned comrade-in-arms Nena, who loathes and tolerates him in equal measure, Osman delves into Olivia's twisted past. But at every turn, he's stymied by his unfailing gift for cruel observation, which he turns with most ferocity on himself, without ever noticing what it is that stops him from connecting to anyone in his past or present. As Osman loses his grip on his family, Nena, and everything he thought was essential to his identity, he confronts an enemy who may simply be too good at her job to be defeated.
A Hero of Our Time cracks the veneer of well-intentioned race conversations in the West, dismantles cheery narratives of progress through tech and “streamlined” education, and exposes the venomous self-congratulation and devouring lust for wealth, power, and property that lurks beneath.
About the author
Naben Ruthnum won the Journey Prize for his short fiction, has been a National Post books columnist, and has written books and cultural criticism for the Globe and Mail, Hazlitt, and the Walrus. His crime fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and Joyland, and his pseudonym Nathan Ripley's first novel will appear in 2018. Ruthnum lives in Toronto.