A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: THE GUARDIAN, THE OBSERVER, NEW YORK TIMES, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE , THE WASHINGTON POST
'American War creates as haunting a post-apocalyptic universe as Cormac McCarthy did in The Road, and as devastating a look at the fallout that national events have on an American family as Philip Roth did in The Plot Against America.' Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
AMERICA’S FUTURE IS CIVIL WAR.
SARAT’S REALITY IS SURVIVAL.
THEY TOOK HER FATHER.
THEY TOOK HER HOME.
THEY TOLD HER LIES.
SHE DIDN’T START THIS WAR.
BUT SHE’LL END IT.
Sarat Chestnut, born in Louisiana, is only six when the Second American Civil War breaks out in 2074. But even she knows that oil is outlawed, that Louisiana is half underwater, that unmanned drones fill the sky. And when her father is killed and her family is forced into Camp Patience for displaced persons, she quickly begins to be shaped by her particular time and place until, finally, through the influence of a mysterious functionary, she is turned into a deadly instrument of war. Telling her story is her nephew, Benjamin Chestnut, born during war - part of the Miraculous Generation - now an old man confronting the dark secret of his past, his family's role in the conflict and, in particular, that of his aunt, a woman who saved his life while destroying untold others.
American War creates as haunting a post-apocalyptic universe as Cormac McCarthy did in The Road, and as devastating a look at the fallout that national events have on an American family as Philip Roth did in The Plot Against America. (Michiko Kakutani New York Times)
So sharply observed . . . hard to resist. (Sunday Times)
This is extremely good . . . Basically was hoping for my train to be delayed (Sarah Perry)
This is an outstanding book – 1984 meets The Handmaid’s Tale – that feels closer to reality than it possibly should. (Prima)
America’s tortured present lends unsettling believability to American War, the dystopian debut from journalist Omar El Akkad with its late 21st-century picture of a second civil war, fought over fossil fuel in a US devastated by environmental disaster. Brilliantly imagined, it’s both a timely tale and a salutary warning. (Mariella Frostrup, Guardian ‘Best Books of 2017’)
Terrifying . . . moving . . . Convincing, compelling and very bloody scary. (Metro)
Future dystopias always tell us a great deal about our most pressing contemporary anxieties and this is a novel that imagines the cracks currently emerging in US society widening into ravines. (Alex Preston ‘Best Fiction of 2017’ Observer)
[An] exciting debut . . . what sets this impressive book apart from other dystopian novels is the fully realised plausibility of the scenario El Akkad’s created, the roots of which can be all too easily identified in the world around us today… As diverting a read as this engrossing novel is, American War should no doubt also be read as a cautionary tale. (Independent)
Informed by writer El Akkad's experiences working as a journalist in Afghanistan and Egypt's Arab Spring, this is a timely and haunting book that reflects our uncertain era. (Stylist)
It is an ambitious concept and El Akkad . . . pulls it off in an imaginative feat of world building . . . American War is an assured debut and El Akkad’s experience as a war reporter lends a grisly realism to proceedings . . . A vivid and nightmarish vision of an all-too-conceivable future. (Express)