What Strange Paradise

What Strange Paradise

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From the widely acclaimed, best-selling author of American War, a new novel--beautifully written, unrelentingly dramatic, and profoundly moving--that looks at the global refugee crisis through the eyes of a child.

"It is one thing to put a human face on a migrant crisis and another to do so in so compelling a way that a reader simply cannot put your book down. --Gish Jen, author of The Resisters

More bodies have washed up on the shores of a small island. Another overfilled, 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 back in their homelands. But miraculously, someone has survived the passage: nine-year-old Amir, a Syrian boy who is soon rescued by Vänna. Vänna is a teenage girl, who, despite being native to the island, experiences her own sense of homelessness in a place and among people she has come to disdain. And though Vänna and Amir are complete strangers, though they don't speak a common language, Vänna is determined to do whatever it takes to save the boy.

In alternating chapters, we learn about Amir's life and how he came to be on the boat, and we follow him and the girl as they make their way toward safety. What Strange Paradise is the story of two children finding their way through a hostile world. But it is also a story of empathy and indifference, of hope and despair--and about the way each of those things can blind us to reality.


Author: Omar El Akkad
Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
Published: 07/20/2021
Pages: 256
Binding Type: Hardcover
Weight: 0.75lbs
Size: 7.64h x 5.12w x 1.18d
ISBN: 9780525657903

Review Citation(s):
Library Journal Prepub Alert 02/01/2021 pg. 62
Publishers Weekly 05/24/2021
Kirkus Reviews 06/01/2021
Booklist 06/01/2021 pg. 39
Shelf Awareness 07/30/2021

About the Author
OMAR EL AKKAD is an author and a journalist. He has reported from Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, and many other locations around the world. His work earned Canada's National Newspaper Award for Investigative Journalism and the Goff Penny Award for young journalists. His writing has appeared in The Guardian, Le Monde, Guernica, GQ, and many other newspapers and magazines. His debut novel, American War, is an international bestseller and has been translated into thirteen languages. It won the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award, the Oregon Book Award for fiction, and the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize, and has been nominated for more than ten other awards. It was listed as one of the best books of the year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, GQ, NPR, and Esquire, and was selected by the BBC as one of 100 Novels That Shaped Our World.