Rachel Kushner's thrilling second novel bursting with ideas and fast paced movementby Prospect Team / June 19, 2013 / Leave a comment
Published in July 2013 issue of Prospect Magazine
by Rachel Kushner (Harvill Secker, £16.99)
The second novel by the American writer Rachel Kushner comes wrapped in praise from people who know what they’re talking about. “Thrilling” says Jonathan Franzen; “ambitious and serious,” says Colm Tóibín. Being told too often and too intently that you ought to like something invites a backlash. Happily, The Flamethrowers is worth the adjectives.
The novel’s narrator is Reno, a young woman who comes to New York in 1977. She soon falls in with a crowd of artists and hangers-on, including Sandro Valera, an older Italian artist who becomes Reno’s lover. The story of Sandro’s wealthy family, who own a famous motorcycle company, becomes fully entwined with Reno’s when she travels to Italy with him to pursue her art and gets mixed up with the violent left-wing actions that rocked that country in the late 70s.