American War

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American War
352 pages; Knopf
When it feels like you're living in a dystopia, post-apocalyptic literature sometimes makes sense of the world in a way that nothing else can. This may explain the return of George Orwell's 1984 to best-seller lists, as well as the emergence of the commanding new literary category cli-fi, which uses inventive stories to tackle the very real threat of climate change. This month two stunning novels join the growing canon.
In American War, the debut novel by journalist Omar El Akkad, the divide between blue and red states has escalated gruesomely into the Second American Civil War. In a not-distant-enough future, the South has mutinied against the North's ban on fossil fuel, as scores of refugees flee rising violence and sea levels. One of the displaced is Sarat Chestnut, a girl who over the course of the novel transforms from victim into weapon, as societal collapse takes its final toll on a child's soul.
— Michele Filgate & Natalie Beach