[a Novel]

Book - 2005
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At once a novel and an open letter to Osama bin Laden,Incendiaryis a shocking, hilarious, and heartbreaking debut that crashes head on into huge questions of right and wrong, good and evil, madness and sanity. Incendiaryis the story of a working class woman who likes her simple life: watching Arsenal matches on the telly with her husband and little boy, fishsticks for dinner in their small flat, the occasional trip to the pub. One spring afternoon the woman, whom we know only by the nickname "Petal", watches her husband and their son head happily off to Ashburton Grove, Arsenal's brand new stadium, to see their favourite team play. A few hours later the horror of a terrorist bombing plays out on her television -- the bombing of Ashburton Grove. "Petal" tells her own story in an extraordinary voice, one both desperate and sharply funny, speaking directly to the man responsible for the bombing. She shows the reader an incredible world, a London that is not quite real, in a time that is not quite our own. And as deeply enmeshed as the reader becomes in her reality, a tiny, persistent doubt begins to creep in about just what is reality and what is a manifestation of her griefstricken and distraught imagination. Dear Osama they want you dead or alive so the terror will stop. Well I wouldn't know about that I mean rock 'n' roll didn't stop when Elvis died on the khazi it just got worse. Next thing you know there was Sonny & Cher and Dexy's Midnight Runners. I'll come to them later. My point is it's easier to start these things than to finish them. I suppose you thought of that did you? There's a reward of 25 million dollars on your head but don't lose sleep on my account Osama. I have no information leading to your arrest or capture. I have no information full effing stop. I'm what you'd call an infidel and my husband called working class. There is a difference you know. But just supposing I did clap eyes on you. Supposing I saw you driving a Nissan Primera down towards Shoreditch and grassed you to the old bill. Well. 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. --excerpt fromIndendiary
Publisher: [Toronto] : Bond Street Books, c2005
ISBN: 9780385661706
Branch Call Number: CLE
Characteristics: 237 p


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ChristchurchLib Jul 20, 2014

"On July 7th, 2005, terrorists detonated four bombs during London's rush hour; that same day, this debut novel -- about a deadly bombing in London -- was published in the U.K. It takes the form of a letter to Osama bin Laden, written by a working-class woman who lost her husband and children in the attack. Her voice -- a stream-of-consciousness style with little regard for punctuation, heavy on East End slang -- and graphic depictions of violence make for a compelling if not easy read. Though there's humour, the letter-writer's grief, and the other emotions that overwhelm her, are the focal point of a novel that takes a stunning tragedy and makes it personal." Fiction A to Z July 2014 newsletter

Jul 30, 2012


Jul 21, 2012

Incendiary is an ultra-satisfying book which you'll sink into...unable to surface until the very end. The horrifying event which transforms the protagonist's life - the loss of her husband and child in a terrorist attack on a London soccer stadium - is all too believable and is written with harrowing detail. I empathized with the narrator - she is an imperfect woman who must try to regain a sense of normalcy in a world that no longer makes any sense. In this out-of-control world, her illogical decision to write a letter to Osama bin Laden does indeed seem oddly reasonable. Her account has a dark, comic edge - at times I laughed out loud and at others I felt such despair. I read this book in one sitting - I absolutely could not put it down. I highly recommend Incendiary. Bravo Chris Cleave - what an outstanding first novel!

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Jul 21, 2012

everydayathena thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over


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