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American war
2017
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Fiction/Biography Profile
Characters
Sarat Chestnut (Female), Refugee, Was six years old when the Second American Civil War started; oil is outlawed; Louisiana is halfway underwater; unmanned drones fil lthe sky; her father is killed; family is forced into a camp for displaced persons; becomes friends with a man who turns her into a deadly instrument of war
Genre
Fiction
Dystopia
Science fiction
War
Topics
Civil war
Plagues
Family relationships
Death of a parent
Life changes
Refugees
Strangers
Setting
Louisiana - South (U.S.)
Time Period
2074 -- 21st century
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Trade Reviews

  Library Journal Review

Award-winning journalist Akkad's gripping and frightening debut novel takes off from current American political and environmental issues to imagine a bleak and savage not-too-distant future. During a long second American civil war, the Chestnut family, consisting of a mother, son, and twin daughters, are moved to a refugee camp in what's left of a region of Mississippi in the year 2081. There, one of the daughters, Sarat, grows into a strong and independent soul who is recruited by a shadowy operative to conduct missions against the northern borders. She assassinates a high-ranking leader of the North's military, leading to reprisals and her eventual capture. She is tortured by the North, then finally released and moves back south with her injured brother and his family. Later, she's offered the chance to perform one final deadly mission in order to sabotage the peace talks that are finally taking place between the two bitter enemy regions. VERDICT Well written, inventive, and engaging, this relentlessly dark tale introduces a fascinating character in Sarat. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 10/24/16.]-James Coan, SUNY at Oneonta Lib. © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

El Akkad's debut novel transports us to a terrifyingly plausible future in which the clash between red states and blue has become deadly and the president has been murdered over a contentious fossil fuels bill. In 2074, Sarah T. Chestnut-called Sarat-comes of age in the neutral state of Louisiana, where she is slowly drawn into the conflict after the death of her father, performing guerrilla operations for the South. Soon she is enmeshed in a resistance movement masterminded by the Dixie militants operating along the Tennessee River, venturing into quarantined South Carolina battlegrounds and Georgia shantytowns alongside spies, assassins, and revolutionaries, like the commanding Adam Bragg and his Salt Lake Boys. Sarat finds brief happiness with Layla, a displaced bar owner from Valdosta, Georgia, but this is only the beginning of Sarat's war, as she is interred in the nightmarish Camp Saturday before being exiled in the wake of a devastating plague. Now an old and broken woman, Sarat must seek redemption in the wreckage of the New World. Part family chronicle, part apocalyptic fable, American War is a vivid narrative of a country collapsing in on itself, where political loyalties hardly matter given the ferocity of both sides and the unrelenting violence that swallows whole bloodlines and erodes any capacity for mercy or reason. This is a very dark read; El Akkad creates a world all too familiar in its grisly realism. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Summary
"Powerful . . . As haunting a postapocalyptic universe as Cormac McCarthy [created] in The Road, and as devastating a look as the fallout that national events have on an American family as Philip Roth did in The Plot Against America.  . . . Omar El Akkad's debut novel, American War, is an unlikely mash-up of unsparing war reporting and plot elements familiar to readers of the recent young-adult dystopian series The Hunger Games and Divergent." <br> --Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times <br> <br> 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.<br> <br> 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.
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