Important update: Indiespensable Volume 93, featuring What Strange Paradise by Omar El Akkad, will be the final volume before the program takes a hiatus! You can still purchase the remaining volume(s) through August 4, and we'll be in touch as our subscription programs evolve in 2023.
- An exclusive signed edition of What Strange Paradise
- Other surprises!
A migrant ship has capsized off the shore of a small Greek island, again, this time with a young survivor. Told in alternating chapters set before and after this tragedy, Omar El Akkad's What Strange Paradise follows the path of 9-year-old refugee Amir, fleeing the wreck, and the 15-year-old islander who helps him. Although Amir is the novel's central character, What Strange Paradise illuminates the backstories and motivations of every character, from the other migrants on the ship to the island's tourism-dependent residents to the soldiers tasked with patrolling its shores. An intimate and personal story about a shared global issue, What Strange Paradise is a stunner.
"Impassioned and richly detailed, What Strange Paradise moves like a thriller and punches like a work of art. With this haunting story of refugees, high seas, sharks and Samaritans, Omar El Akkad continues on his impressive exploration of our contemporary world."
" — Aravind Adiga, author of The White Tiger and Amnesty
"What Strange Paradise is by turns tender and brutal in its truths. It is tremendously written, propulsive as it is expansive as it is granular in its specificities. Omar El Akkad writes with such emotional precision, power, and grace. Here we get the wondrousness of children set in sharp relief against a backdrop of the all too common dehumanization then dismissal of refugees everywhere. The book devastates and uplifts, somehow, and we are not left with hope—that isn’t the point—but asked to witness, to see what is here, with clarity, and with fullness of heart.”
" — Tommy Orange, author of There There
"El Akkad’s compelling, poetic prose captures the precarity and desperation of people pushed to the brink…A compassionate snapshot of one Syrian refugee’s struggle to plot a course for home."
— Kirkus Reviews