Land art, motorcycles, and '70s revolutionaries meld together brilliantly in The Flamethrowers. In prose both provocative and menacing, Kushner explores this unusual territory through the eyes of her intrepid female protagonist, Reno, and constructs an extraordinary novel that's hard to put down. Recommended By Jen C., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
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 that world, and 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 estranged scion of an Italian tire and motorcycle empire. When they visit Sandro's family home in Italy, betrayal sends Reno 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 author Rachel Kushner's superbly 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.
"I loved Rachel Kushner's The Flamethrowers." Jonathan Franzen
"Rachel Kushner's fearless, blazing prose ignites the '70s New York art scene and Italian underground of The Flamethrowers." The New York Times Book Review
"A white-hot ember of a book." Maud Newton, NPR
"Brilliant and exhilarating...Kushner fearlessly tackles art, death, and social unrest. In so doing, she has written the sort of relentless and immersive novel that forces the reader to look up and make sure the room hasn't disappeared around her." David Ulin, The Los Angeles Times
About the Author
Rachel Kushner’s debut novel, Telex from Cuba, was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, winner of the California Book Award, and a New York Times bestseller and Notable Book. The Flamethrowers, received rave reviews across the country, and Kushner was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2013. Her fiction and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Paris Review, The Believer, Artforum, Bookforum, Fence, Bomb, Cabinet, and Grand Street. She lives in Los Angeles.