Ms. Wilson fills “Alif the Unseen” with an array of observations about contemporary culture: new questions of theology (if a sin is committed in virtual reality, is it still a sin?); fantasy literature and, most conspicuously, Western culture. At one point the conversation turns to Lawrence Durrell and the Alexandria Quartet, the question being if the novels are Eastern or Western literature. “There is a very simple test,” Vikram says. “Is it about bored, tired people having sex?” Yes, he is told. “Then it’s Western,” Vikram decrees.