Flame On

The Flamethrowers - Rachel Kushner

I already know what my favorite book of 2013 is, even though I haven’t read it. Rachel Kushner’s The Flamethrowers is getting all the right praise from all the right people. Choire Sicha reported that The Flamethrowers was “awesome” before it even came out. James Wood used 3,000 words in The New Yorker to praise The Flamethrowers for being “scintillatingly alive” and basically transcending all current debates about the nature of fiction. Dwight Garner saved some of his best one-liners for The Flamethrowers, warning that Kushner has “burned down whatever resistance you might have toward her talent or her narrative.” And Maud Newton says The Flamethrowers a “brilliant lightning bolt of a novel” with “a deadly accuracy that recalls the young Joan Didion.” Is it getting hot in here, or is it just me?

Kushner is profiled in the papers of record on both coasts and interviewed (althought not INTERVIEW-interviewed, that would be insane, this is only her second novel) in The Paris Review. This year, award committees will be skipping the selection process and just asking how to spell “Rachel Kushner” on their giant cardboard checks.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’d better read an excerpt so I can stop confusing the title with an old George Carlin routine.

– Brian Hurley

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