États-Unis, 2074. Une nouvelle guerre de Sécession éclate entre le Nord et le Sud, sur fond de contrôle des énergies fossiles. Lorsque son père est tué, la jeune Sarat Chestnut et sa famille n'ont d'autre choix que de fuir dans un camp de réfugiés en zone neutre.Entre les privations, les désillusions et les rencontres hasardeuses, la fillette influençable va, au fil des ans, se transformer en une héroïne implacable appelée à jouer un rôle déterminant dans le nouvel ordre mondial.
''Deserves to be an instant classic. I haven''t loved a book this much in a long time . . . What Strange Paradise . . . reads as a parable for our times . . . Such beautiful writing . . . This is an extraordinary book.'' New York Times From the widely acclaimed author of American War , Omar El Akkad, a beautifully written, unrelentingly dramatic and profoundly moving novel that brings the global refugee crisis down to the level of a child''s eyes. More bodies have washed up on the shores of a small island. Another over-filled, ill-equipped, dilapidated ship has sunk under the weight of its too-many passengers: Syrians, Ethiopians, Egyptians, Lebanese, Palestinians, all of them desperate to escape untenable lives in their homelands. And only one had made the passage: nine-year-old Amir, a Syrian boy who has the good fortune to fall into the hands not of the officials, but of Vanna: a teenage girl, native to the island, who lives inside her own sense of homelessness in a place and among people she has come to disdain. And though Vanna and Amir are complete strangers and don''t speak a common language, Vanna determines to do whatever it takes to save him. In alternating chapters, we learn the story of Amir''s life and of how he came to be on the ship; and we follow the duo as they make their way towards a vision of safety. But as the novel unfurls, we begin to understand that this is not merely the story of two children finding their way through a hostile world. Omar El Akkad''s What Strange Paradise is the story of our collective moment in this time: of empathy and indifference, of hope and despair - and of the way each of those things can blind us to reality, or guide us to a better one.
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.