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The Flamethrowers

Rachel Kushner.
Publisher Scribner  
Format paperback
ISBN 9781439142011
Pages/Publication Date 416/2014
Daedalus Item Code 49093
List Price: $17.00
Sale Price: $11.95
You Save: $5.05
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(Shortlisted for the National Book Award and one of the New York Times Book Review's Ten Best Books of 2013) The year is 1975, and Reno—named for the place of her birth—has come to New York intent on turning her fascination with motorcycles and speed into art, in Rachel Kushner's second novel (following Telex from Cuba, also a National Book Award finalist). Reno's arrival coincides with an explosion of activity in the art world, and she meets a group of dreamers and raconteurs who submit her to an education of sorts. She begins an affair with Sandro Valera, the estranged scion of an Italian tire and motorcycle empire, but when they visit Sandro's family home in Italy, a betrayal plummets Reno into an underworld of passionate social revolution.

"Life, gazed at with exemplary intensity over hundreds of pages and thousands of sentences precision-etched with detail—that's what The Flamethrowers feels like. That's what it is. And it could scarcely be better. The Flamethrowers is a political novel, a feminist novel, a sexy novel, and a kind of thriller.... Virtually every page contains a paragraph that merits—and rewards—rereading."—Harper's

"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 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."—The New Yorker

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