The Flamethrowers

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“Kushner is rapidly emerging as a thrilling and prodigious novelist.”

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.

“Oscillating between the hedonistic New York artworld 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.

“The controlled intensity and perception in Rachel Kushner's novels mark her as one of the most brilliant writers of the oncoming 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.” 

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- Jonathan Franzen, author of Freedom

- Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!

- Hari Kunzru, author of Gods Without Men

“This rich second novel from Kushner takes place in late-‘70s New York City and Italy…Kushner’s psychological explorations of her characters are incisive, the novel is peppered with subtle ‘70s details, and it bursts with you-are-there depictions of its time and places.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

- Robert Stone

 "Adroitly balancing astringent social critique with deep soundings of the complex psyches of her intriguing, often appalling characters, Kushner has forged an incandescently detailed, cosmopolitan, and propulsively dramatic tale of creativity and destruction." Booklist (starred review)

"Rachel Kushner writes dazzling, sexy, glorious prose. She is as brilliant on men and motorcycles as she is on art and film. The Flamethrowers is an ambitious and powerful novel." 

- Dana Spiotta, author of Stone Arabia and Eat the Document

 "Kushner writes well and plunges us deeply into the disparate worlds of the New York City art scene, European political radicalism and the exhilarating rush of motorcycles."

- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

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"A supersmart, sexy novel. . . . The Flamethrowers is its own category of wow, and Kushner is the champion of something strange, wonderful, and real." - Rivka Galchen, author of Atmospheric Disturbances