Book - 2005
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A distraught woman writes a letter to Osama bin Laden after her four-year-old son and her husband are killed in a massive suicide bomb attack at a soccer match in London. In an emotionally raw voice alive with grief, compassion, and startling humor, she tries to convince Osama to abandon his terror campaign by revealing to him the desperate sadness--"I am a woman built on the wreckage of myself"--and the broken heart of a working-class life blown apart. But the bombing is only the beginning. While security measures transform London into a virtual occupied territory, the narrator, too, finds herself under siege. At first she gains strength by fighting back, taking a civilian job with the police to aid the antiterrorist effort. But when she becomes involved with an upper-class couple, she is drawn into a psychological maelstrom of guilt, ambition, and cynicism that erodes her faith in the society she's working to defend. And when a new bomb threat sends the city into a deadly panic ("It was a panic like the darkest dream and the more people ran out onto the streets the bigger the panic got like a monster made of human beings") she is pushed to acts of unfathomable desperation--perhaps her only chance for survival. A surreal vision made brilliantly, viscerally powerful and undeniable,Incendiaryis a stunning debut novel. The author responded to the tragic events which took place in London on July 7, 2005. Visit his website to read this response, and participate in a forum on the book. (Link provided below.)
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, c2005.
Edition: 1st American ed.
ISBN: 9780307262820
Characteristics: 237 p. ; 22 cm.


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ChristchurchLib Jul 20, 2014

"On July 7th, 2005, terrorists detonated four bombs during London's rush hour; that same day, this debut novel -- about a deadly bombing in London -- was published in the U.K. It takes the form of a letter to Osama bin Laden, written by a working-class woman who lost her husband and children in the attack. Her voice -- a stream-of-consciousness style with little regard for punctuation, heavy on East End slang -- and graphic depictions of violence make for a compelling if not easy read. Though there's humour, the letter-writer's grief, and the other emotions that overwhelm her, are the focal point of a novel that takes a stunning tragedy and makes it personal." Fiction A to Z July 2014 newsletter

Jul 30, 2012


Jul 21, 2012

Incendiary is an ultra-satisfying book which you'll sink into...unable to surface until the very end. The horrifying event which transforms the protagonist's life - the loss of her husband and child in a terrorist attack on a London soccer stadium - is all too believable and is written with harrowing detail. I empathized with the narrator - she is an imperfect woman who must try to regain a sense of normalcy in a world that no longer makes any sense. In this out-of-control world, her illogical decision to write a letter to Osama bin Laden does indeed seem oddly reasonable. Her account has a dark, comic edge - at times I laughed out loud and at others I felt such despair. I read this book in one sitting - I absolutely could not put it down. I highly recommend Incendiary. Bravo Chris Cleave - what an outstanding first novel!


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Jul 21, 2012

everydayathena thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over


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