Incendiary

Front Cover
Knopf Publishing Group, Sep 1, 2006 - Fiction - 237 pages
584 Reviews
At once a novel and an open letter to Osama bin Laden, Incendiary is a shocking, hilarious, and heartbreaking debut that crashes head on into huge questions of right and wrong, good and evil, madness and sanity.
Incendiary is the story of a working class woman who likes her simple life: watching Arsenal matches on the telly with her husband and little boy, fishsticks for dinner in their small flat, the occasional trip to the pub.
One spring afternoon the woman, whom we know only by the nickname "Petal," watches her husband and their son head happily off to Ashburton Grove, Arsenal's brand new stadium, to see their favourite team play. A few hours later the horror of a terrorist bombing plays out on her television -- the bombing of Ashburton Grove.
"Petal" tells her own story in an extraordinary voice, one both desperate and sharply funny, speaking directly to the man responsible for the bombing. She shows the reader an incredible world, a London that is not quite real, in a time that is not quite our own. And as deeply enmeshed as the reader becomes in her reality, a tiny, persistent doubt begins to creep in about just what is reality and what is a manifestation of her griefstricken and distraught imagination.

"Dear Osama they want you dead or alive so the terror will stop. Well I wouldn't know about that I mean rock 'n' roll didn't stop when Elvis died on the khazi it just got worse. Next thing you know there was Sonny & Cher and Dexy's Midnight Runners. I'll come to them later. My point is it's easier to start these things than to finish them. I suppose you thought of that did you?
There's a reward of 25 million dollars on your head but don't lose sleep on myaccount Osama. I have no information leading to your arrest or capture. I have no information full effing stop. I'm what you'd call an infidel and my husband called working class. There is a difference you know. But just supposing I did clap eyes on you. Supposing I saw you driving a Nissan Primera down towards Shoreditch and grassed you to the old bill. Well. I wouldn't know how to spend 25 million dollars. It's not as if I've got anyone to spend it on since you blew up my husband and my boy.
--excerpt from Indendiary

  

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5 stars
117
4 stars
216
3 stars
149
2 stars
60
1 star
42

Great writing, compelling story. - Goodreads
Difficult to read but absolutely excellent. - Goodreads
he's not too keen on happy endings thats for sure - Goodreads
Heart breaking but a total page turner. - Goodreads
Character development is great. - Goodreads
But the ending made you feel awful. - Goodreads

Review: Incendiary

User Review  - Jim M - Goodreads

A woman deals with the loss of her husband and son after a suicide bomb explodes at a football match. Read full review

Review: Incendiary

User Review  - Staceyj - Goodreads

This book does not need to be read while around others. It leaves you with your mouth gaping open looking like a fool because you're shocked at what you are reading. The narrator was real, raw, and to the point. You could feel her pain. Left me breathless at times. Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
3
Section 2
27
Section 3
43
Section 4
50
Section 5
55
Section 6
65
Section 7
80
Section 8
101
Section 14
186
Section 15
193
Section 16
200
Section 17
204
Section 18
209
Section 19
212
Section 20
215
Section 21
224

Section 9
113
Section 10
136
Section 11
150
Section 12
160
Section 13
167
Section 22
226
Section 23
229
Section 24
234
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Chris Cleave was born in London in 1973, and spent his earliest years in Cameroon, where his dad built the Guinness brewery. In 1991 he wrote a novel called The Roadkill Cookbook and went to Balliol College, Oxford, which he left with a First in Experimental Psychology. After having worked sailing yachts from the south of France to the Eastern Mediterranean for their owners and as a busboy in Melbourne, Australia, he returned to London and spent three years with The Telegraph. In 2000 he met Clémence. They moved to Paris, and he now divides his time between playing with his son Louis and writing a new London-based novel. Incendiary will be his first published book.


From the Hardcover edition.

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