3/18/2021 0 Comments
American War - Fiction or Destiny
American War by Omar El Akkad is set between 2075 and 2086 during the second American Civil War. The main character, Sarat, is only 6 when the war begins. The Northern portion of the United States has deemed fossil fuels illegal, however the southern states reject this law, thus beginning the second civil war. Throughout American War the reader sees elements usually seen in war torn countries such as: extreme poverty, refugee camps, and vulnerable persons who become weapons of war, in the setting of America. These events are seen at their most extreme in this novel, something that we do not see in America today, but does not mean it is impossible to happen in America. The question remains: is the story of American War El Akkad’s prediction of the American future? In an interview with UK based Foyles authors, when asked if his novel is how he sees America in 2074, he responded: “I honestly didn’t even intend for this book to be primarily about America. I set out to write a book about the universality of revenge, and I set it in America because the sort of things I wanted to talk about tend to happen far away from here, in some of the poorest and most war-torn places on the planet, and it felt necessary to make them happen close to home.” While it was not El Akkads intent to portray America in 2074, he was showing what some countries look like in present day. By setting the novel in America, El Akkad was able to bring attention to the political and social issues of, as he put it, “the poorest and most war-torn” countries in the world. Does this mean America could never see the level of destruction in these war - torn countries? Absolutely not, America is very susceptible to the destruction these poor countries are facing. This year alone, we have had huge civil rights movements (Black Lives Matter) against the misuse of force in our police officers, we had riots in our nations capital (January 6th), and we have seen a huge increase in radical political movements. These events have divided our nation, and in my opinion, it is only a matter of time before American War becomes non-fiction.