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 ...more
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 ...more
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 freezer...and then goes one level deeper and alphabetizes within the alphabetization!
This entire "Dear Osama" story is written in that obsessive fashion. Annoying details repeat ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 hooked.
The author has revived that feeling of intense loss and the way a mind c ...more
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 ...more
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 sempre é fác ...more
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 ist ...more
Side note: Cleave has a blog that is very good. No surprise.
I like th ...more
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 ...more
The book was powerful, intense and well-written. I liked the fact that the main charac ...more
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...more
The subject matter is incredibly depressing and there were several portions of the book that left me in tears... in public... on the subway. However, I did enjoy the "open letter" writing format and thought that it made the protagonist easier to relate to. As someone who lived and worked in NY during 9/11 I thought that it was an extremely realistic portrayal of someone going through an unfatho ...more
I was hoping that Incendiary would be as enjoyable as Little Bee. Especially after seeing some of the praise on the back of the book -- it won the 2006 Somerset Maugham award, it was shortlisted for the 2006 Commonwealth Writers' Prize, etc.
But nope. The book is one long letter to ...more
INCENDIARY, Cleave's first novel, takes the form of a long, Dear Osama letter, written over four seasons by a lower middle class housewife whose husband and four-year-old son were killed in a fictional suicide bombing at a football game.
Definitely worth reading. I learned a lot about modern-day life in London but LITTLE BEE is SO much better. This gives me hope that this author is on an upward spiral ...more