Friday, January 21, 2011

Incendiary - Chris Cleave

I read Chris Cleave's New York Times bestseller Little Bee last year around this time. (Review here) It was a stunningly powerful read.  When the chance to read his re-issued first novel, Incendiary, came up I was hesitant. Frankly, I didn't know if I wanted to experience the subject matter, but I find Cleave's writing compelling, so I said yes. And I'm glad I did.

Incendiary is told in the form of a long rambling letter to Osama Bin Laden by an unnamed female narrator. Osama's forces bombed the football stadium where her husband and son were attending a game. They, along with thousands of others, were killed.

"I want to be the last mother in the world who ever has to write a letter like this. Who ever has to write to you Osama about her dead boy."

The narrative rambles and meanders as she attempts to deal with her loss and grief. The lack of puncuation and run on sentences only serve to emphasize her state of mind. Her sorrow and anguish are palpable. The terror and confusion of the aftermath of an attack to both the city and it's citizens is sharply drawn. I was appalled and horrified by some of the situations she finds herself in - the other two supporting characters were quite ugly in many ways - but I couldn't stop turning page after page.

Powerful, moving, yes - humourous, frightening, disturbing, heart breaking, but oh, what an addicting read. See for yourself - read an excerpt of Incendiary

I'm saddened to think that she won't be the last mother in the world who will want to write a letter like this....

5 comments:

bermudaonion said...

I didn't realize this was a re-issue of an earlier work. You've made it sound like a must read.

Mystica said...

The author was new to me so thanks for the post.

Kay said...

Hmmm....I haven't read LITTLE BEE yet, but I'm glad to know about this book. I suspect I would need to be in the right mood for it. :-)

Reeder Reads said...

I've been slightly hesitant to pick up this novel as well because Little Bee was such a powerful novel, but after reading your review, I'm intrigued to give it a try! I love the two similar covers too! :)

iwriteinbooks said...

I've seen such amazing things about Little Bee but haven't gotten to it, yet. This one seems a little bit intense but it looks like it's worth the effort. Thanks for the review; I've been meaning to actually pick this up and look at the subject.