Grad’s War Novel Highlights the Complicated Relationship Between the U.S. Military and the Afghan People

November 10, 2021

Security Day book coverFor Navy veteran and MFA alum Matt Cricchio, Afghanistan was complicated. It is a point he brings home again and again in his debut novel, Security Day.

While in Afghanistan, Cricchio served as an interrogator and spy handler. He built relationships with the Afghan people and tried to get information that would help the military. Cricchio would relay information to his commanders and did his best to protect the identity of the Afghans who gave it to him.

“Unlike a lot of people that went to that war, I formed very close relationships with Afghans,” he said. “I was in their culture. It was my job to do that.”

Cricchio comes from a military family. He graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University’s College of Humanities and Sciences in 2006 with a degree in English and decided to enlist in the military. He always planned to earn a master’s in fine arts but first wanted to serve his country.

“I felt instead of going to an MFA right away as a 21-year-old who never experienced anything, that I wanted to sort of do something outside of the normal,” Cricchio said.

After his time in Afghanistan, Cricchio did return to VCU and obtained his MFA in Creative Writing.

For more information about Cricchio's life journey, and his debut novel, please see the recent article in VCU News.