Incendiary

  • Title: Incendiary
  • Author: Chris Cleave
  • ISBN: 9780385671293
  • Page: 201
  • Format: Paperback
  • Incendiary 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
    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 diAt 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 my account 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 IndendiaryFrom the Hardcover edition.

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      Published :2019-02-13T01:35:00+00:00

    About Chris Cleave


    1. Chris Cleave was born in London and spent his early years in Cameroon He studied experimental psychology at Balliol College, Oxford His debut novel, INCENDIARY, won a 2006 Somerset Maugham Award, was shortlisted for the 2006 Commonwealth Writers Prize, and is now a feature film His second novel, LITTLE BEE, is a New York Times 1 bestseller with over 2 million copies in print GOLD is his third novel He lives in London with his wife and three children Chris Cleave enjoys dialogue with his readers and invites all comers to introduce themselves on Twitter he can be found at twitter chriscleave or on his website at chriscleaveQ AWhat was your favourite childhood book The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by CS LewisWhich book has made you laugh Great Lies to Tell Small Kids by Andy Riley Which book has made you cry The Road by Cormac McCarthyWhat are your top five books of all time, in order or otherwise Mrs Dalloway Woolf Germinal Zola Voyage au Bout de la Nuit C line The Road McCarthy 100 Years of Solitude Garcia M rquez What is your favourite word Nooba It s a word peculiar to my family, although I can t remember where it came from or which of my kids coined it To do the nooba is to muck around when you re supposed to be going to sleep As in, Stop doing the nooba, boo boo, it s way past your bedtime I like it because you can only say it with a smile.Which fictional character would you most like to have met Sally Seton, Clarissa Dalloway s childhood companion, when we were all young.Is there a particular book or author that inspired you to be a writer Definitely In my teens it was Milan Kundera who made me realise how exciting it would be to write, and Primo Levi who made me realise how important it was, and Tibor Fischer who made me suspect the whole thing would be fun.


    412 Comments


    1. There are several major elements to Incendiary, the wonderful book Chris Cleave wrote well before he became known for Little Bee. First a tough, working-class, London mom loses her bomb-squad husband and four-year-old son when terrorists bomb a packed soccer stadium, suffering injuries herself in attempting to find them immediately after the event. The unnamed narrator has to decide whether life is worth living. Her grief, and PTSD is manifest in hallucinations. She sees her dead son with increa [...]

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    2. UGH!! This is horrible! Trying to read it is like banging your head against a concrete pillar. You should only do it for the feeling of relief when you finally decide to stop. I read about 30 pages and I can't take any more. The narrator is an obsessive---the kind who alphabetizes everything in her kitchen cupboards and freezerd then goes one level deeper and alphabetizes within the alphabetization! This entire "Dear Osama" story is written in that obsessive fashion. Annoying details repeated ad [...]

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    3. Original, entertaining, authentic and believable An East End [of London:] woman decides to write a letter to Osama bin Laden after a team of his suicide bombers wreck her life by indiscriminately blowing up the crowd at a football match, killing both her husband and her four-and-a-quarter year-old son, along with over a thousand other football fans.The letter is written, mainly in the authentic language of an East End gal, but with snippets of people from other worlds. The grammar and punctuatio [...]

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    4. Chris Cleave, Incendiary (Knopf, 2005)Dear Osama,With these two words, Chris Cleave kicks off his powerful novel Incendiary, and you know it's not going to be something you've seen before. And indeed it is not. The entire thing is written by the unnamed protagonist in a letter to Osama bin-Laden after al-Qaeda bombed a stadium during a big match, taking the lives of her husband and son. She tries to make a go of life afterwards, but while she never explicitly asks the question, it's embedded in [...]

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    5. OK, Cleave. It's officially over for us. You are a man on a mission, a guy who tries to pass himself off as clever but is merely gimmicky, a man who attempts pathos and ends up mawkish. BLARGH. Here, in no particular order, are the things I can't stand in novels, in general, and applied to this one, in specific:1. Letters that magically, somehow, have perfectly remembered dialogues and long plot driven descriptions that no one would ever write.It's not only lazy but impossible to believe. The wh [...]

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    6. wow. i buy the book at the miami airport and start reading at takeoff. fifteen minutes later, my mouth is literally hanging open with shock. a three hour flight to nyc feels like six seconds and i race home to finish the book that night. i read and loved little bee (chris cleave's 2008 novel) and i have been an ardent and faithful word-of-mouther for the last year, pushing it onto the bookshelves of anyone who will hear me out. i don't think love is the right word for my reaction to incendiary. [...]

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    7. After Little Bee, I had high hopes for Incendiary. Unfortunately, Chris Cleave left me disappointed. Unfortunately, Incendiary seems more like an outlandish dark daydream than anything real. For instance, she throws up on Prince William. Really? Really. I understand what Cleave was trying to do here, but no part of it seemed real. The entire time I thought I was reading some middle schooler's attempt to be a dark and gruesome author. With the middle schooler you pat him on the back, at least he' [...]

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    8. I loved Chris Cleave’s Little Bee, so when my husband learned that I was meeting a friend in a bookstore, he told me I should look for Cleave’s first book Indendiary and see if I’d like that too. So I looked.Pages of compliments to the author at the start of a book do tend to have a bad effect on me. By the time I’d found the first page of writing, my bookstore coffee was cold. I almost wrote the novel off as artsy and not my style but then I stopped and read again. And I was thoroughly [...]

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    9. One-sitting read!Very unique plot!A woman talking with Osama bin Ladin before & after the death of her husband and son and blaming him for the London attack but the reality was something else. She keep on discussing afterwards each event of her life with him. I have mixed feelings regarding this book. ahhh Amazing some parts while few things are repeatedly discussed which bored me. All & all very different and interesting book.

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    10. Imagine that you’re a working class Cockney mother with a husband who detonates bombs and a young son who is four years and three months old. You stave off your anxieties about the uncertainty of your life through mindless sex encounters. Eventually, you meet a neighbor – a journalist named Jasper – and, while your husband and son are at a soccer game, you invite him to your flat. At the exact same time you are in the throes of sexual abandon, there’s a massive terrorist bomb attack at t [...]

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    11. Wow, just wow! This book just blew me away literally. It was one of those books that you love to hate but the realism, the pathos, the fear is brought out on every single page. Perhaps this book had such an impact because I am a native New Yorker who lived and worked a mere fifteen miles away from ground zero. I remember the panic, the sorrow, the intense feeling of both grief and despair as if that event occurred yesterday.The author has revived that feeling of intense loss and the way a mind c [...]

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    12. Wat een hel om dit te lezen Weinig gebruik van leestekens, waardoor je soms 10 keer over een zin heen moet. Het had zo'n interessant verhaal kunnen zijn, maar dit is er eentje waarbij men niet er uit haalt wat er in zit. Niet lezen, zonde van je tijd.

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    13. Depois de ter lido "Pequena Abelha" e "Menina de Ouro" e de ter adorado os dois, faltava-me ler "Incendiário", que é o primeiro romance do autor. Logo no início estranhei: a ausência de vírgulas foi coisa a que tive que me habituar, mas consegui fazê-lo muito rapidamente. Na verdade, sendo este livro uma carta escrita pela narradora a Osama Bin Laden, ele está escrito na linguagem que ela utiliza e não na linguagem que o autor utiliza. Só por isso, já merece ovação de pé, porque nem [...]

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    14. This book is amazing. I would tell you all about it but I don't want to ruin anything for you.The whole book is written as a letter to Osama from a woman whose husband and son were killed in a huge London bombing in which over 1,000 people died. They call it May Day (read: 9/11). If you think this sounds really maudlin - it isn't. It is sad, funny, real, true, and breathtaking. This is not some sob-your-heart-out dime novel. It's a deep, brutal, personal look at human nature and tragedy.The woma [...]

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    15. Chris Cleave creates such memorable, credible characters with absolutely unique voices. The admittedly imperfect mother narrating this work in her singular, working-class, comma-phobic London voice grabs you by the gut. I didn't come up for air while reading this book. A fictional but eerily realistic terror attack rips through London and the life of one small family. The surviving mother writes a year-long letter to Osama bin Laden, addressing her anger, her loss, and her reactions (rational, i [...]

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    16. "Incendiary" is one of the best books I've read - ever. I also read Cleave's "Little Bee", as engaging a book as you want to pick up. However, this is different, both in style and content. Told through the voice of a lower class woman in London who is writing a letter to Osama Bin Laden after her husband and son were killed (along with hundreds of others) in an al-Qaeda suicide bomb attack at a soccer match. At the very moment of the explosion, the woman is not only having sex on her living room [...]

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    17. This book took so much balls to write: the main character is woman, writing about motherhood, and wifehood, yet it was written by a man. The protagonist is working class; but the author graduated from Oxford. Above all, it's an exploration of a hideous crime, and the personal losses consequent, though this event never happened. The strength of the book lies in its enormous imagination. London after May Day is achingly detailed, Orwellian, but authentic due to intimate observation with the absurd [...]

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    18. A gripping story. I don't know how Chris Cleave gets inside women's heads so well. A lot of WOMEN don't do it this well. Also shows a deep understanding of the lives and passions of the working class.Side note: Cleave has a blog that is very good. No surprise.

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    19. How would London respond when faced with truly genuine fear? Written before the horrific events of 7/7, author Chris Cleave paints a dystopian picture of London as we know it in the aftermath of a horrific al-Qeada bombing where 1000 men, women, and children were blown to bits as they enjoyed a day out at an Arsenal match. The story is told through the eyes of an average working class East End woman who loses her husband and son in the attack. Incendiary is a profound story of unbearable loss, a [...]

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    20. I listened to the audiobook. The audiobook performance was superb, with the perfect reader to perform the material. I am sure that her reading enhanced my perception of the bookbut. But, this plot line had some strange flaws in what I would otherwise describe as an excellent story. I read Little Bee and thought that it was an amazing work. Then I read Gold and thought, Chris Cleave does not understand female friendship. I was very pleased that this book was moving at an excellent pace setting, c [...]

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    21. I hate when I read a book that has an engaging protagonist, a compelling story, and an intriguing location, along with some awesome action and the author keeps you reading, rooting for the narrator and then.he RUINS it ALL during the last twenty pages. I won't do a spoiler alert by telling you HOW he wrecks it. All I will say is I only recommend the first 214 pages of the 237 page book. After that the whole things gets shot to hell. the story derails, crashes, burns, and just stinks.I like the n [...]

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    22. Cleave blew me away with his recent novel, Little Bee. I was excited to read the older Incendiary, yet I was deeply disappointed and disgusted. Yes, I finished the entire novel but only because I kept hoping that it was going to turn around and improve. It did not. With a promising beginning, I was immediately intrigued with the heroine of the story writing a letter to Osama Bin Laden blaming him for the deaths of her husband and son in a terrorist attack at a soccer match. However, as it went o [...]

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    23. This book has mixed reviews and I can't imagine why. Some people didn't like the author's choice to leave out commas, even though this is part of the main character's personality. However, I listened to the audio version and the reader was tailor made for the part. I really thought Chris Cleave did a magnificent job of imagining the craziness involved in a terror attack and the aftershock. He nailed it so well for me that I had to look up the storyline details to see if it was based on a true st [...]

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    24. Ich hoffe schlichtweg, dass das englische Original eine bessere Sprache bietet. Im Deutschen ist es jedenfalls recht vulgär/einfach. Auf der einen Seite sollte es so sein, um eine bessere Stimmung aufzubauen, auf der anderen Seite wird maßlos übertrieben.Was sehr schade ist, ist dass der Autor wirklich gute Ideen und Ansätze hat, aber niemals in die Tiefe geht. Man hofft immer, dass noch mehr kommt. Die Geschichte handelt von einer Frau, die bei einem Anschlag ihre Familie verliert. Und das [...]

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    25. I don't know what I was expecting but what I got wasn't it. This was such a deeply moving and sad story about what happens when a life falls apart. While this is one woman's story, it shows just how fragile human beings are and just how self absorbed we can be. I just realized that I just finished a book and the main character's name was never mentioned. I spent over 200 pages feeling sorry for and being appalled by the life of this woman and wasn't even bothered that I didn't know her name. Wow [...]

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    26. What a book to read for someone who makes their living in the homeland security industry. "Incendiary" follows a widow following her husband's and son's death from a terrorist attack on London. Not only is it an insightful statement on an individual's grief for her family and nation, but it is also a poignant statement on that nation's grief. In many ways, we can look at the narrator's descent into madness as understandable, given her extreme losses. England, however, is made out like a just-cha [...]

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    27. Having just finished Chris Cleave's second novel and loving it, I immediately went out to buy his first novel, "Incendiary." Overall, I found parts of the story to be a bit over the top and messy, but I still enjoyed the story. It's face paced and impossible to put down.Although none of the characters is even remotely likeable, I still was still able to connect with them. This was the same case in his second novel, "Little Bee." Cleave has a way of making off putting characters, become accesible [...]

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    28. After 130 pages I decided to call it quits on this book. While the idea of a woman writing to the terrorist who engineered the deaths of her husband and son is intriguing, I found the protagonist unrealistic given the intellectual and moral gravity that the plot entails. It is entirely possible to make a character such as an unfaithful wife seem sympathetic and interesting, but I think Cleave misses the mark in this regard. Like many other novels that begin with tragedies, we as readers are thru [...]

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    29. "Incendiary" is a letter to Osama bin Laden written by a working class London woman who has lost her husband and son in a terror attack. In this confessional letter, the woman describes some of the events in her life prior to the attack as well as her interactions afterward. The nameless woman appears to unravel over the course of the book, as do many of the people around her and even the city of London itself.The book was powerful, intense and well-written. I liked the fact that the main charac [...]

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    30. An all-around stunning novel. Even if Incendiary hadn't eerily predicted the bombings on the London Tube (and hit British bookstores that same day), it would rank as one of this season's novels to be missed at your own peril (unless you're swearing by Michiko Kakutani, who deemed the book in poor taste). Cleave has mimicked the voice of a working-class woman with remarkable persuasiveness__though non-British readers may wallow in East End slang confusion. A formal journalist, he has brought an e [...]

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