The Flamethrowers
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The Flamethrowers

By (author) Rachel Kushner

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Named a Best Book of 2013 by "The New York Times;" "Vogue;" "O, The Oprah Magazine;" "Time;" "Bookish;" "New York" magazine; "The New Yorker;" "Slate;" "Flavorwire;" "Publishers Weekly;" "Kirkus Reviews;" "Salon;" and "Complex." Rachel Kushner's "The Flamethrowers, "a finalist for" "the National Book Award, was just named a Top Ten Book of 2013 by the "New York Times Book Review" and one of "Time" magazine's top ten fiction books. Kushner's first novel, "Telex from Cuba, "was also a finalist for a National Book Award and was reviewed on the cover of "The New York Times Book Review." "The Flamethrowers," even more ambitious and brilliant, is the riveting story of a young artist and the worlds she encounters in New York and Rome in the mid-1970s--by turns underground, elite, and dangerous. The year is 1975 and Reno--so-called because of the place of her birth--has come to New York intent on turning her fascination with motorcycles and speed into art. Her arrival coincides with an explosion of activity in the art world--artists have colonized a deserted and industrial SoHo, are staging actions in the East Village, and are blurring the line between life and art. Reno meets a group of dreamers and raconteurs who submit her to a sentimental education of sorts. Ardent, vulnerable, and bold, she begins an affair with an artist named Sandro Valera, the semi-estranged scion of an Italian tire and motorcycle empire. When they visit Sandro's family home in Italy, Reno falls in with members of the radical movement that overtook Italy in the seventies. Betrayal sends her reeling into a clandestine undertow. "The Flamethrowers "is an intensely engaging exploration of the mystique of the feminine, the fake, the terrorist. At its center is Kushner's brilliantly realized protagonist, a young woman on the verge. Thrilling and fearless, this is a major American novel from a writer of spectacular talent and imagination.

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  • Hardback | 383 pages
  • 157.48 x 231.14 x 33.02mm | 544.31g
  • 02 Apr 2013
  • Scribner Book Company
  • New York
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1439142009
  • 9781439142004
  • 82,600

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"Rachel Kushner's second novel, The Flamethrowers", is scintillatingly alive, and also alive to artifice. It ripples with stories, anecdotes, set-piece monologues, crafty egotistical tall tales, and hapless adventures: Kushner is never not telling a story... it manifests itself as a pure explosion of now: it catches us in its mobile, flashing present, which is the living reality it conjures on the page at the moment we are reading... Kushner employs a[n]...eerie confidence throughout her novel, which constantly entwines the invented with the real, and she often uses the power of invention to give her fiction the authenticity of the reportorial, the solidity of the historical...Kushner watches the New York art world of the late seventies with sardonic precision and lancing humor, using Reno's reportorial hospitality to fill her pages with lively portraits and outrageous cameos...[Kushner's] novel is an achievement precisely because it resists either paranoid connectedness or knowing universalism. On the contrary, it succeeds because it is so full of vibrantly different stories and histories, all of them particular, all of them brilliantly alive."--James Wood "The New Yorker "

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