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American War: A Novel av Omar El Akkad
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American War: A Novel (utgåvan 2018)

av Omar El Akkad (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
1,3577610,358 (3.78)82
"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"--… (mer)
Medlem:librarianbryan
Titel:American War: A Novel
Författare:Omar El Akkad (Författare)
Info:Vintage (2018), Edition: Reprint, 432 pages
Samlingar:Read
Betyg:****
Taggar:Ingen/inga

Verkdetaljer

American War av Omar El Akkad

Senast inlagd avtokyozman65, SamBortle, wghezzi, Rennie80, privat bibliotek, Jinjer, BigTony
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engelska (74)  franska (1)  tyska (1)  Alla språk (76)
Visa 1-5 av 76 (nästa | visa alla)
Who wins in war? A complex question given a nuanced answer in "American War." I was reluctant to read this book despite having seen many good reviews because I was worried it would be too much about a post apocolyptic dystopia (and I just have no interest in those) or it would be too much about "war." I'm glad I didn't listen to myself. I was fascinated by the development of the main character (Sarat Chestnut) and by the depth of the narrative. Without being ponderous it is comprehensive. I didn't feel like anything was told to me, it was all shown and it all flowed from what had come before. This is a very timely book and it has a lot to say about "nativism" which is quite cleverly describes as a "pyramid scheme" where the ones at the top call the refugees "terrorist and criminals." Seems rather familiar. I also was angered and fascinated in equal measure to see someone become radicalized and to blame all bad things on "others." When you do that you allow yourself to do anything to advance your cause. Very dangerous. Everything about this book rang true and meaningful to me. ( )
  MarkMad | Jul 14, 2021 |
The novel is the story of one woman, whose actions shape America's history in the future. Tomboy Sara T. Chestnut is slightly confused by a teacher misreading her name and decides to become known as Sarat (giving her a sort of Middle East connotation.) She has a twin sister, a brother, a mother and family, barely scraping by on a river in Louisiana, when a war with the North ostensibly about fossil fuel and a family tragedy strikes late in the 21st century, uprooting the family. The family lands in a refugee camp, where life is hard and dehumanizing and Sarat grows up fast, angry, and mostly alone. There, she is recruited by an expert and fashioned to become a weapon of destruction. While the setting is in America, I think author Omar El Akkad used the setting as a metaphor for the wars in the Middle East and how terrorists are created from ordinary people and extraordinary events, with retribution as their sole means of redress. ( )
  skipstern | Jul 11, 2021 |
In 2075, ocean levels have risen and obliterated the East Coast. The South has rebelled, ostensibly for refusing to accept a ban on fossil fuels.

American War is more than just a good piece of speculative fiction (the sci-fi aspect is really very light, just enough to propel the story). It's a story of politics. The reasons the war is being fought matter less than the people fighting it, and the powers in the background. Those powers wind up turning an ordinary six year old girl into a terrorist.

The book is so neutrally written regarding its politics that it doesn't come across as a simple critique of US hegemony, which it could have turned into. Rather, the effect is that the names change, but the cycle does not. The US turns from the manipulator to the manipulated.

The story is tightly written and propulsive, jumping forward in chronology to cover 20 years in only 300 pages (it could fairly easily have been much longer). It's a touch overwritten in spots, but it doesn't overwhelm the power of the book.

Highly recommended. ( )
  arosoff | Jul 11, 2021 |
Maybe it's because I spent this summer steeped in Octavia Butler's Parables, but I think there's a lot of interesting ways American War connects and diverges from those books. Overall, I really liked the storytelling here with "primary sources" interspersed and looking at the toll of war on identity, though I felt the end a bit rushed and pat. El Akkad could have written a sequel instead, which I would have definitely signed up to read. ( )
  LibroLindsay | Jun 18, 2021 |
I have some mixed feelings about American War. While I didn’t really enjoy it, I have to admit I was captured in the world and it held my attention. I think El Akkad writes well – he builds worlds and characters well – but as far as story goes it was a bit lacking.

El Akkad is first a journalist, and I think that came out really well in American War. He focuses on just the right thing to add emphasis to the gruesome nature of war and the way traumatized people can respond to the world around them. He sums it up nicely in the ending dialogue, saying that after a while it’s not about good or evil, but about taking care of yourself and your own. It’s a reminder that life isn’t made up of binaries, but many, many shades of grey.

American War takes us forward – not too far in the future – where a civil war has broken out in the United States. The South “Red” wants to secede from the country due to new laws banning the use of fossil fuels. Our story follows Sara T. Chestnut, who goes by “Sarat”. This world reflects some of the horror in the Middle East and casts it in a fictional setting to shed an allegorical light on the situation and also the United States’ meddling. There’s both traditional violent warfare and biological warfare, and there’s a complete lack of regard for the “innocents” in the struggle. It’s heartbreaking and infuriating and El Akkad did something really interesting here and, for me, told the story from the side I relate to less. This forces empathy as you get to know the characters, which I think is one of the major goals of this book – to ask readers to understand and care about people, even if they don’t agree with them.

So while I found American War engaging from a theoretical and literary perspective, the storyline itself didn’t hold me. The story tells snippets of Sarat’s life as well as the progression of the war. The book jumped forward in time and occasionally switched perspectives in a way that was not predictable or, I think, justified. There is, for example, chapters told from Sarat’s mother’s POV and I’m not sure why that choice was made. We also discover that the entire book is being told from Sarat’s nephew’s perspective and that in itself is a logic conundrum considering what is ultimately revealed about their relationship and Benjamin’s choices.

At the end of the book, I felt as though I had travelled nowhere and accomplished nothing. It was a bit disheartening to feel as though I’d spent so much time in this world and with these characters to have such a lackluster journey. There are some odd things that are unexplained and other things that are just… too easy to drive Sarat’s personal vendettas. El Akkad tried to do everything to and for Sarat in American War and I think that in doing that, it built conflicts that were never satisfied and a life without direction. Maybe that was the point? Up to you to decide.

As a study, I think American War was really interesting and I don’t regret picking it up. It’s not a book I would read again, but I think I would pick up Omar El Akkad’s next novel out of sheer curiosity. As I said, his writing itself was compelling even if the story was a bit flat. ( )
  Morteana | May 19, 2021 |
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» Lägg till fler författare (9 möjliga)

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Omar El Akkadprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Graham, DionBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Teschner, UveBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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The one you must punish is the one who punishes you. -- Kitab al-Aghani (The Book of Songs)
Mine heritage is unto me as a speckled bird, the birds round about are against her; come ye, assemble all the beasts of the field, come to devour. -- Jeremiah 12:9
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To my father
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When I was young, I collected postcards.
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"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"--

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