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By Omar El Akkad

“El Akkad has fashioned a surprisingly powerful novel — one that creates as haunting a postapocalyptic 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” . . . He demonstrates cool assurance at using details — many gathered, it seems, during his years as a reporter — to make his fictional future feel alarmingly real . . . El Akkad has written a novel that not only maps the harrowing effects of violence on one woman and her family, but also becomes a disturbing parable about the ruinous consequences of war on ordinary civilians.”
– The New York Times

 “Omar El Akkad has created an American future that is both terrifying and plausible.”
—Peter Heller, author of The Dog Stars


American War by [El Akkad, Omar]An audacious and powerful debut novel: a second American Civil War, a devastating plague, and one family caught deep in the middle—a story that asks what might happen if America were to turn its most devastating policies and deadly weapons upon itself.

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, and that unmanned drones fill the sky. When her father is killed and her family is forced into Camp Patience for displaced persons, she begins to grow up shaped by her particular time and place. But not everyone at Camp Patience is who they claim to be. Eventually Sarat is befriended by a mysterious functionary, under whose influence she is turned into a deadly instrument of war. The decisions that she makes will have tremendous consequences not just for Sarat but for her family and her country, rippling through generations of strangers and kin alike.

“[A]stounding, gripping and eerily believable . . . American War is Omar El Akkad’s first novel and it is masterful. Both the story and the writing are lucid, succinct, powerful and persuasive.
– Lawrence Hillwriting for The Globe and Mail

“Follow the tributaries of today’s political combat a few decades into the future and you might arrive at something as terrifying as Omar El Akkad’s debut novel, American War . . . El Akkad demonstrates a profound understanding of the corrosive culture of civil war, the offenses that give rise to new hypocrisies and mythologies, translating terrorists into martyrs and acts of despair into feats of heroism.”
– The Washington Post

American War is a worthy first novel, thought-provoking [and] earnest . . . It is at its best depicting the lives of ordinary people caught up in terrible circumstances and how those ordinary people are, in the crosshairs of crisis, forever changed, and how some can become extraordinary or at least affect history.”
– Los Angeles Times

“What sets this impressive book apart from other dystopian novels is the fully realised plausibility of the scenario El Akkad has 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.”
– The Independent

“[I]t’s not really the future United States that’s represented. Instead, American War is a creatively skewed image of real life places and events . . . this intense novel takes recent foreign history and reimagines it happening to us in America, and it is successfully disconcerting. You learn something from a story that asks you to consider a dark, strangely-plausible abyss.”
– The Rumpus

“American War, a work of a singular, grand, brilliant imagination, is a warning shot across the bow of the United States. Omar El Akkad has created a novel that isn’t afraid to be a pleasurable yarn as it delves into the hidden currents of American culture and extrapolates from them to envision a deeply tragic potential future.”
—David Means, author of Hystopia

“Omar El Akkad’s urgent debut transmutes our society’s current dysfunction into a terrifying yet eerily recognizable future, where contemporary global and local conflicts have wreaked havoc on American soil. The threads between today and that future are his masterfully shaped characters. Their resilience, savagery, and humanity serve both as a portrait of who we are but also what we might very well become.”
—Elliot Ackerman, author of Dark at the Crossing

“American War is an extraordinary novel. El Akkad’s story of a family caught up in the collapse of an empire is as harrowing as it is brilliant, and has an air of terrible relevance in these partisan times.”
—Emily St. John Mandel

One of The Washington Post 50 notable works of fiction in 2017


2017 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize Finalist


Knopf, US, Spring 2017
M&S, Canada, Spring 2017
Picador, UK
Fischer Verlag, Germany
Flammarion, France
Rizzoli, Italy
De Geus, Holland
Shinchosha, Japan
United Sky Media, China
Foksal, Poland
HarperCollins Brazil, Brazil
Saida de Emergencia, Portugal

Host, Czech Republic

Rewayat, UAE

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