The Flamethrowers review ì eBook or Kindle ePUB

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The Flamethrowers review ì eBook or Kindle ePUB ´ Rachel Kushner’s The Flamethrowers just made it from the National Book Award longlist to the shortlist of five finalists Her first novel Telex from Cuba was also nominated for a National Book Award and reviewed on the cover of The New York Times Book Review The Flamethrowers even amN tire and motorcycle empire When they visit Sandro’s family home in Italy Reno falls in with members of the radical movement that overtook Italy in the seventies Betrayal sends her reeling into a clandestine undertow The Flamethrowers is an intensely engaging exploration of the mystiue of the feminine the fake the terrorist At its center is Kushner’s brilliantly realized protagonist a young woman on the verge Thrilling and fearless this is a major American novel from a writer of spectacular talent and imaginatio. The Flamethrowers follows Reno a would be artist nicknamed after her hometown who moves to New York and through a relationship with an older wealthy Italian artist becomes a peripheral member of the city’s vibrant art scene Though she spends her days among uirky artistic people Reno only makes half hearted attempts at work of her own; rather she spends the bulk of the novel acting as a sort of mascot for her older morally corrupted friends When Reno does attempt to an art project of her own capturing images of a motorcycle ride across the Utah salt flats it goes horribly wrong and ends with the young pro artist falling literally and figuratively in with an Italian race team sponsored by her boyfriend’s family’s tire business are you rolling your eyes yet Reno then becomes a Danica Patrick like racing pin up for the company and is invited to Italy for some promotional work with the team After some hemming and hawing Reno and her boyfriend go to Italy where you guessed it things once again go terribly wrong and Reno kind of joins the Brigate Rosse sort of Or maybe notI really wanted to like The Flamethrowers I really did but the novel is a profound disappointment Reno spends the entire novel on the verge of something on the verge of developing her own artistic style on the verge of racing fame on the verge of being a member of a radical leftist group without ever doing anything Instead Reno passively ping pongs between men who direct the course her life will next take; she is entirely devoid of agency within a socio historic moment that was about claiming and utilizing one’s agency This uestion of agency who has it who claims it who uses it doesn’t even amount to subtext; instead Kushner distracts her readers with one winking New York in the 70s reference after another “Forget about the act of becoming” the narration seems to say “here’s the Blackout of 1977 Here’s a generic Max’s Kansas City type place Pay no attention to the novel’s decided lack of depth” The novel leads you to believe that something profound will happen to Reno that within all that she has experienced all the power she has relinuished to others she will somehow in someway come into her own she will be able to amalgamate all that she has seen into a profound work of art But by the end of the novel Reno hasn’t acted on anything After investing a week and almost four hundred pages worth of bus reading efforts into The Flamethrowers I expected than Kushner delivered

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Rachel Kushner’s The Flamethrowers just made it from the National Book Award longlist to the shortlist of five finalists Her first novel Telex from Cuba was also nominated for a National Book Award and reviewed on the cover of The New York Times Book Review The Flamethrowers even ambitious and brilliant is the riveting story of a young artist and the worlds she encounters in New York and Rome in the mid 1970s by turns underground elite and dangerous The year is 1975 and Reno so called because of the place of her bi. The critic James Wood in his review for the New Yorker pin points it perfectlyRachel Kushner’s second novel “The Flamethrowers” Scribner is scintillatingly alive and also alive to artifice It ripples with stories anecdotes set piece monologues crafty egotistical tall tales and hapless adventures Kushner is never not telling a story It is nominally a historical novel it’s set in the mid seventies and I suppose also a realist one it works within the traditional grammar of verisimilitude But it manifests itself as a pure explosion of now it catches us in its mobile flashing present which is the living reality it conjures on the page at the moment we are readingAlive Rippling with stories Historical Realistic A pure explosion of nowWhat a vibrant electric ride this was A novel as wild as it is elegant zooming in and out of scenes so perfectly brought to life that they will shimmer in your memory for a long time A doe eyed inhabited wonderful female character who hungers for experience at every turn of the page and steals your heart in one swift move with her innocence and willingness to take it all in Because this is what this gorgeous novel does it takes it all in It brings to life visceral complicated ever shifting life every single theme and locale it touches upon the New York art scene in the 70's the grittiness and primal energy of the Bowery of those years the coming of age tale that never resolves itself the radical left wing groups that terrorized Italy at the same period the beauty of motorcycles and the intoxication of speed throughout history from World War I to salt flats races in Nevada This is writing at its best It will swallow you up in one big gulp and spit you back out on the curb leaving you breathless and wondering what just happened to you

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The FlamethrowersRth has come to New York intent on turning her fascination with motorcycles and speed into art Her arrival coincides with an explosion of activity in the art world artists have colonized a deserted and industrial SoHo are staging actions in the East Village and are blurring the line between life and art Reno meets a group of dreamers and raconteurs who submit her to a sentimental education of sorts Ardent vulnerable and bold she begins an affair with an artist named Sandro Valera the semi estranged scion of an Italia. There isn’t much plot in this novel but it is a hell of storyBildungsroman of a young woman known as just Reno an art studies graduate in 1977 who dared to race her Moto Valera motorcycle at high speed velocities to create land art Land art was a “traceless art” created from leaving an almost invisible line in the road from surging speeds at over 110 mph “Racing was drawing in time” Literally and figurativelyThis era generated a seminal movement in New York where artistic expression in the subversive sect was animate inflamed ephemeral breathing a mix of temporal and performance art and the avant gardepunk scene This was also an age of conceptual art which grew out of minimalism and stressed the artist’s concept rather than the object itself Time was the concept of Reno’s art something to be acted upon “You have time Meaning don’t use it but pass through time in patience waiting for something to come Prepare for its arrival Don’t rush to meet it Be a conduitI felt this to be true Some people might consider this passivity but I did not I considered it living”The novel narrated by Reno is all about her observation and experiences as she comes of age in a revolutionary time She lives in a shabby run down hole in the wall in New York “blank and empty as my new life with its layers upon layers of white paint like a plaster death mask over the two rooms giving them an ancient urban feeling”As she gets caught up with the underground movement in the East Village called Up Against the Wall Motherfuckers and later with the Red Brigades of Rome Reno is herself a conduit for the people she meets and gets involved with such as her older rebellious boyfriend Sandro Valera son of the Fascist friendly mogul of Valera motorbikes Reno came to New York by way of Nevada eager to demonstrate her art through photography and motorbikes She’s “shopping for experience” Sometime after a particularly moving one night stand and attempting to navigate her life and bridge her isolation and loneliness she meets sculptor Sandro Valera and his friends a group of radicals and artists who offer her exposure to working class insurrection in this “mecca of individual points longings all merging into one great light pulsing mesh and you simply found your pulse your place” Reno was looking for a sense of identity and she wanted enchantment“Enchantment means to want something and also to know somewhere inside yourself not an obvious place that you aren’t going to get it” The bridge between life and art and Reno’s invigorating speed of 148 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats where she went with her new friends to make land art demonstrates the crossover between gestures and reality and a liberating energy that was “an acute case of the present tense Nothing mattered but the milliseconds of life at that speed” On the one hand Reno seeks self sovereignty but on the other hand she inhabits a male dominated and often misogynistic landscape where men exploit women for artistic and political gain When she visits Sandro’s family in Italy she is subjected to derision by Sandro’s misanthropic brother and his sneering mother In another scene a male photographer asks women to punch themselves in the face until they are battered and then pose for him Reno narrates this with an unemotional but subtle raillery noting the incongruity of women on a pretense of independence She acutely observes that “certain acts even as they are real are also merely gestures” And in Rome the uestion of feminine mystiue versus male dominance is addressed by a Red Brigade revolutionary radio broadcaster when he states to women that “Men connect you to the world but not with your own self” Are women “meant to speed past just a blur” as Reno speculates And the I think about that line the paradox it evokesArtists dreamers terrorists comrades iconoclasts all populate this novel replete with iconic images and fallen debris in a swirl of electrical momentum New York and Rome aren't just scenic backdrops; they come alive as provocateurs firebrand cities with flame throwing agitatorsKushner is a heavyweight writer a dense volatile and sensuous portraitist of the iconographic and the obscure Arch and decisive moments throughout the novel heighten the ominous tension that rumbles below the surface and the reader wholly inhabits the spaces of Reno’s consciousness and those of the people she meets“All you can do is involve yourself totally in your own life your own momentAnd when we feel pessimism crouching on our shoulder like a stinking vulturewe banish it we smother it with optimism We want and our want kills doom That is how we’ll take the future and occupy it like an empty warehouse It’s an act of love pure love It isn’t prophecy It’s hope”