This is shortlisted for the 2013 national book awards. Reno mounts her motorcycle and sets a collision course for New York. In 1977 the city is alive with art, sensuality and danger. She falls in with a bohemian clique colonising downtown and the lines between reality and performance begin to bleed. A passionate affair with the scion of an Italian tyre empire carries Reno to Milan, where she is swept along by the radical left and drawn into a spiral of violence and betrayal. The Flamethrowers is an audacious novel that explores the perplexing allure of femininity, fakery and fear. In Reno we encounter a heroine like no other.
An extraordinarily ambitious big American novel about a young artist and the worlds she encounters in New York and Rome in the mid-1970s - by turns underground, elite, dangerous
"Kushner is rapidly emerging as a thrilling and prodigious novelist" Jonathan Franzen "Oscillating between the hedonistic New York art world and Italy in the midst of the Years of Lead, The Flamethrowers is that rare thing, a novel that uses recent history not as a picturesque backdrop but as a way of interrogating the present. Kushner's urgent prose and psychological acuity make this one of the most compelling and enjoyable novels I've read this year" Hari Kunzru "The controlled intensity and perception in Rachel Kushner's novels mark her as one of the most brilliant writers of the new century. She's going to be one we turn to for our serious pleasures and for the insight and wisdom we'll be needing in hard times to come. Rachel Kushner is a novelist of the very first order. The Flamethrowers follows Telex from Cuba as a masterful work" Robert Stone "The Flamethrowers lives up to its incendiary title - it is a brilliant, startling truly revolutionary book about the New York art world of the seventies, Italian class warfare, and youth's blind acceleration into the unknown. Kushner is a genius prose stylist, and her Reno is one of the most fully realized protagonists I've ever encountered, moving fluidly from the fringe of the fringe movement to the center of the action. I want to recommend this stunning book to everyone I know" Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia! "An ambitious and serious American novel. The sentences are sharp and gorgeously made. The scope is wide. The political and the personal are locked in a deep and fascinating embrace" Colm Toibin
Rachel Kushner's debut novel, Telex from Cuba, was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, winner of the California Book Award, and a New York Times bestseller and Notable Book. Her fiction and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Believer, Artforum, Bookforum, Fence, Bomb, Cabinet, and Grand Street. She lives in Los Angeles.