Added by 3 of our members. Incendiary A novel by Chris Cleave. A massive terrorist attack on Arsenal's new stadium - a woman grieving for her husband and son - a first novel to set the literary world alight Angry, funny, controversial and unpredictable, Incendiary will be one of the most talked-about books of

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Chris Cleave writes a killer opening in "Incendiary," which the artist or author or publisher -- to whomever, kudos had the wisdom to use on the book's back cover.

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. That's my whole point, you see. I don't want 25 million dollars Osama I just want you to give it a rest. I want to be the last mother in the world who ever has to write you a letter like this. Who ever has to write to you Osama about her dead boy. I was riveted by the emotion that Cleave reveals through the narrator, even in those short paragraphs.

So I picked up the book. I was unprepared, however, for the book to continue in the same rambling voice for more than pages. Cleave's entire novel is this letter from the woman to Osama bin Laden, recounting the day of the terrorist attack that killed her family at a London soccer match and her desperate attempts to cope in the aftermath.

Even the dialogue between the woman and other characters -- her upper-class neighbors Jasper and Petra, her boss and then boyfriend Terence Butcher -- are all without quote marks. It took a good bit of getting used to.

But I have to give Cleave credit, because the emotions of the narrator hit me like a fist again and again.

Even as I type this review, I feel a weight of sadness for this fictional character. She is raw and honest and her reaction to terrorist attack and the loss of her family is at times more heartbreaking than the deaths themselves. It's not going to be a novel that everyone enjoys -- but if you give it a try, stick with it through any initial discomfort with the style. Cleave rewards you in the end.


Reality bites

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'Incendiary' by Chris Cleave

Is this really the moment to bring out a book which begins "Dear Osama Or indeed any book which features a major terrorist blast in London? At least one major bookselling chain thinks not, as Waterstone's announced that it was pulling all national advertising for Chris Cleave's debut, which hypothesises the effect of an al-Qaida attack at Arsenal's new stadium. To add to the air of macabre coincidence, the book was scheduled for release on July 7. Perhaps we had better ignore the hyperbolic reminders that the rights to the book have been sold in 15 countries and that it is to be made into a major film for which Cleave already appears to have done his own casting one of the chief characters is a floppily indecisive toff described as being "like Hugh Grant in.



By fluke and unhappy accident, the British edition of the book was published on Thursday, July 7, the day of the bombings on the London Underground and a bus. Thus "Incendiary" achieved instant notoriety in England: Cleave was interviewed on the radio; his thoughts on the terror attacks were printed in newspapers; the book itself made headlines. But uncanny timing, of course, is no guarantee of a decent novel -- coincidence proves nothing but itself. Cleave's narrator is a working-class East End woman grieving over the deaths of her husband and young son in a terrorist attack at a soccer match, and the book takes the form of rambling letters to Osama bin Laden. It begins: "Dear Osama they want you dead or alive so the terror will stop.

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