- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Anchor Canada (Jan. 11 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385671296
- ISBN-13: 978-0385671293
- Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 1.7 x 20.6 cm
- Shipping Weight: 281 g
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #399,063 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Incendiary Paperback – Deckle Edge, Jan 11 2011
|New from||Used from|
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
From Publishers Weekly
An al-Qaeda bomb attack on a London soccer match provides the tragicomic donnée of former Daily Telegraph journalist Cleave's impressive multilayered debut: a novel-length letter from an enraged mother to Osama bin Laden. Living hand to mouth in London's East End, the unnamed mother's life is shattered when her policeman husband (part of a bomb disposal unit) and four-year-old son are killed in the stadium stands. Complicating matters: our narrator witnesses the event on TV, while in the throes of passion with her lover, journalist Jasper Black. The full story of that day comes out piecemeal, among rants and ruminations, complete with the widow's shell-shocked sifting of the stadium's human carnage. London goes on high terror alert; the narrator downs Valium and gin and clutches her son's stuffed rabbit. After a suicide attempt, she finds solace with married police superintendent Terrence Butcher and in volunteer work. When the bomb scares escalate, actions by Jasper and his girlfriend Petra become the widow's undoing. The whole is nicely done, as the protagonist's headlong sentences mimic intelligent illiteracy with accuracy, and her despairingly acidic responses to events—and media versions of them—ring true. But the working-class London slang permeates the book to a distracting degree.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Winner of the 2006 Somerset Maugham Award
“An audacious, provocative voice. Incendiary is stunning in its portrayal of a city living with terror.”
—The New York Times
“Stunning. . . . A harrowing and sharply written account of urban panic and the hallucinatory effects of shock.”
—The Globe and Mail
“Read Incendiary. And I mean it. Read it. It is outrageous, infuriating, heartbreaking, terrifying and very, very important.”
“Cleave’s narrator is one of the strongest, most convincing personalities to grace the pages of literature in years. . . [He] has achieved something magical, creating a character who lives on long after the last page has been read.”
—Winnipeg Free Press
“Hilariously sympathetic. . . . Cleave has achieved something rare: a black comedy about the war on terrorism and terrorism itself. [Incendiary] will break your heart and remind you how, in the face of the uncontrollable and the inexplicable, humor can allow one to survive.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
“A poignant and compelling novel. . . utterly believable and mesmerizing. . . . Incendiary works not only as a furiously taut evocation of grieving, unhinged mother-love but as a sly political cautionary tale.”
“So timely it stings.”
—The Independent (UK)
“A haunting work of art.”
Top Customer Reviews
The narrator of the novel is a working-class English woman and is written in the form of a letter beginning `Dear Osama'. Her husband and son were at the stadium and have been killed: all three remain nameless in this story. The attack takes place at a soccer match between Arsenal and Chelsea where eleven suicide bombers infiltrate the game: six wearing fragmentation bombs and five wearing incendiary bombs. And just the day before, the husband, who was a member of the bomb-disposal squad, had decided to find a safer job.
Her world collapses: she happens to be watching the game on television with a journalist from the Sunday Telegraph whom she persuades to drive her to the scene. She is injured and while recovering in hospital she is reunited with her son's cuddly toy - Mr Rabbit.
`Mr Rabbit survived' she writes to Osama. `I still have him. His green ears are black with blood and one of his paws is missing.'
The mother leaves hospital and continues on in her own private hell, supplemented or perhaps exacerbated by an extraordinary relationship with two journalists, and then a policeman. Her continued letter to Osama provides a description of how and why her life has changed while at the same time trying to understand - trying to personalise - the man she believes is behind the attack that has devastated her life, and changed London into a near apocalyptic shell of its former self.
It's a quick read: the momentum of events made it very hard for me to put the novel down. At the same time, while I admire the writing and could understand the despair and occasional alienation experienced by the narrator, I was never comfortable in the story. The details in the story were frequently horrific, often mundane and sometimes funny. There are no heroes in this story, just survivors.
This is the kind of novel with its own potential to haunt: cataclysmic events can never be comfortable, especially when fact and fiction collide.
Incendiary is told in the form of a long rambling letter to Osama Bin Laden by an unnamed female narrator. Osama's forces bombed the football stadium where her husband and son were attending a game. They, along with thousands of others, were killed.
"I want to be the last mother in the world who ever has to write a letter like this. Who ever has to write to you Osama about her dead boy."
The narrative rambles and meanders as she attempts to deal with her loss and grief. The lack of puncuation and run on sentences only serve to emphasize her state of mind. Her sorrow and anguish are palpable. The terror and confusion of the aftermath of an attack to both the city and it's citizens is sharply drawn. I was appalled and horrified by some of the situations she finds herself in - the other two supporting characters were quite ugly in many ways - but I couldn't stop turning page after page.
Powerful, moving, yes - humourous, frightening, disturbing, heart breaking, but oh, what an addicting read. I'm saddened to think that she won't be the last mother in the world who will want to write a letter like this....
This book takes on a tragic aspect of modern life, our fear of terrorism, and in spite of the dark subject little rays of human dignity and humour and pure poetic beauty keep lifting you above the subject.
Clearly I am a fan.