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The incendiaries by R. O. Kwon
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The incendiaries (2018)

by R. O. Kwon

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4142742,335 (3.46)26
"Religion, politics, and love collide in this slim but powerful novel reminiscent of Donna Tartt's The Secret History, with menace and mystery lurking in every corner." --People Magazine "The most buzzed-about debut of the summer, as it should be...unusual and enticing ... The Incendiaries arrives at precisely the right moment." --The Washington Post "Radiant...A dark, absorbing story of how first love can be as intoxicating and dangerous as religious fundamentalism." --New York Times Book Review A powerful, darkly glittering novel of violence, love, faith, and loss, as a young woman at an elite American university is drawn into a cult's acts of terrorism. Phoebe Lin and Will Kendall meet in their first month at prestigious Edwards University. Phoebe is a glamorous girl who doesn't tell anyone she blames herself for her mother's recent death. Will is a misfit scholarship boy who transfers to Edwards from Bible college, waiting tables to get by. What he knows for sure is that he loves Phoebe. Grieving and guilt-ridden, Phoebe is drawn into a secretive cult founded by a charismatic former student with an enigmatic past. When the group commits a violent act in the name of faith, Will finds himself struggling to confront a new version of the fanaticism he's worked so hard to escape. Haunting and intense, The Incendiaries is a fractured love story that explores what can befall those who lose what they love most.… (more)
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» See also 26 mentions

English (26)  Piratical (1)  All languages (27)
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
Ugh, another "nerd tries to save a privileged manic pixie dream girl" story. Nope nope nope. ( )
  froxgirl | Feb 29, 2020 |
I was not impressed by this, I found the plot really slow and the characters unrelatable, and I just wasn't into it. ( )
  Linyarai | Feb 16, 2020 |
The Incendiaries by R. O. Kwon is one of those style-reads. The plot is engaging but an equal player in this story is the delivery. It's got a 'punchy' narration and is not 'flowery' if you understand my meaning. The chapters are short, the energy is up, and none of this is a bad thing by any stretch. You'll know if it's your kind of book or not by the first few chapters. ( )
  Daniel.Estes | Jan 14, 2020 |
R. O. Kwon's The Incendiaries deserves every bit of the attention it is getting. I was up late finishing the second half last night. This is the kind of book that teaches you how to be a better reader. It makes me want to dig deeper in my own writing. ( )
  bkfriesen | Jan 7, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
The Incendiaries is a book of careful feints – the emphases in the story never fall where you expect, but Kwon is always in total control.
 
The stylish writing and interesting subject matter are lost in a plodding narrative that feels like a paint-by-numbers attempt at Donna Tartt’s The Secret History.
 
Religious extremism, race, college rape, casual misogyny, North Korea, and abortion are all here in just over 200 pages. The sheer density of hot-button concerns could easily feel sensational, but the text’s immediacy feels effortless and necessary.
 
Big themes of religion, identity, and death swirl through the pages of The Incendiaries, but Kwon keeps her narrative grounded in the very human experiences of the young couple.
 
Its eerie, sombre power is more a product of what it doesn’t explain than of what it does. It’s the rare depiction of belief that doesn’t kill the thing it aspires to by trying too hard.
 
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Epigraph
At the bottom of everything there is the hallelujah.

-Clarice Lispector, 'Água Viva'
Dedication
To Clara Kwon and Young Kwon
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They'd have gathered on a rooftop in Noxhurst to watch the explosion.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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