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The Flamethrowers

A Novel
Kushner, Rachel (Book - 2013 )
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
The Flamethrowers
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The year is 1975 and Reno--so-called because of the place of her birth--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 Italian 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. - from cover p. [2]
Authors: Kushner, Rachel
Title: The flamethrowers
a novel
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2013
Edition: 1st Scribner hardcover ed
Characteristics: 383 p. :,ill. ;,24 cm
Statement of Responsibility: Rachel Kushner
Summary: The year is 1975 and Reno--so-called because of the place of her birth--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 Italian 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. - from cover p. [2]
Alternate Title: Flame throwers
ISBN: 9781439142004
1439142009
9781439142011
1439142017
9781439154175
1439154171
Branch Call Number: FICTION KUSHNER 2013
Subject Headings: Women artists Fiction Motorcycles Fiction Futurism (Literary movement) Fiction Brigate rosse Fiction New York (N.Y.) Fiction Italy Fiction
Genre/Form: Bildungsromans
Topical Term: Women artists
Motorcycles
Futurism (Literary movement)
LCCN: 2012027350
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The year is 1975 and Reno--so-called because of the place of her birth--has come to New York intent on turning her fascination with motorcycles and speed into art.

Wrecked my mind, drew complex alliances between art as a "masculine" force of domination and politics, but ultimately reinforced how impossible but ultimately compulsory it is that we destroy the world as we know it. -Eric


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Aug 16, 2014
  • justnina rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Just not my cup of tea. I could not relate to the protagonist, a lady on a motorcycle who wants to make art installations with the tracks of her motorcycle. She and her friends are a little too outside the mainstream to hold my interest.

Jul 25, 2014
  • rdw39 rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

This book was one of the worst novels I have read this past year. The New York Times included it as one of its top 5 novels for 2013, but for the life of me, I cannot understand that ranking. The book dragged in nearly every chapter & there was not one redeeming character in the story.

I'm not a book critic, but I am curious how one who is could consider this novel as a literary masterpiece.

Jun 21, 2013
  • AnneDromeda rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

If you’re looking for a literary summer read that features adventure, brilliant prose, and scathingly witty dialogue, then have I got the book for you. The *Flamethrowers* is the second work of fiction by Rachel Kushner, and could in no way be called a sophomore slump compared to her critically acclaimed first, *Telex from Cuba.*

*The Flamethrowers* is a coming-of-age novel that follows a young woman from her hometown of Reno, Nevada to the New York City art scene in the 1970s. We never learn her name – all other characters just call her after her hometown. Reno finds herself mingling in an image-conscious, social-climbing mix of anarchists, nihilists, minimalists and deconstructionists who bum around art shows and try to be authentically inauthentic.

Most characters don’t ever acknowledge what or who they actually are; those who do won’t allow their roots to be uttered in their presence. While none of them are strictly likable or even sympathetic, they are absolutely glorious waste-bags – lost, drunk, and full of hot air - and a pitch-perfect snapshot of the seventies’ NYC art scene on Kushner’s part.

Reno falls for a suave older artist named Sandro Valera, heir to an Italian family fortune made building tires and motorcycles. During a visit to Villa Valera gone awry, Reno finds herself on the streets just as labour tensions spill over into riots against the Italian upper crust, including Sandro’s family.

Kushner’s prose sustains a tangible sense of place, from the arid salt flats of Nevada, to the electric/anarchic feel of New York’s streets during the 1977 blackout, to lush evenings at villa Valera, and ultimately to the poor Italian neighbourhoods of protesters. Much of the local colour comes from the dialogue of characters in each particular place, but Kushner also adeptly captures the emotional resonance of each location.

The cinematic sense of place and funky seventies cultural throwbacks may appeal to fans of Michael Chabon (especially his *Telegraph Avenue*) but readers should be aware that *The Flamethrowers’* pacing is much faster. Also, the feminist edge to Kushner’s prose might be a welcome antidote to Chabon’s heavy testosterone for some readers. Ultimately, though, any readers who love literary fiction with a retro seventies bent and lots of action will enjoy *The Flamethrowers.*

May 28, 2013
  • bronteside rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

If you like exquisite writing you will like Kushner. She reminds me alot of Martin Amis: with her characters, her style and dialogue. This is not a book to take to the beach...although her prose is so blindingly brilliant, it is like looking directly into the sun.
Not an easy nor quick read..but this book will become a modern classic someday. Kushner is a literary star.

"This complex tale, which weaves together themes of art, oppression, politics and creativity, follows Reno, a young woman who loves making art and racing her motorcycle - usually at the same time. More naive than she at first appears, Reno moves from Nevada to New York in 1975 to join the thriving avant garde art scene, where she gets involved with a successful older artist, Sandro Valera. The Valera family is responsible for the Moto Valera, a popular motorcycle, and Reno wins the chance to race with the company in Italy. It is there, with a reluctant Sandro, that Reno falls in with the radical movement. For a realistic depiction of the turbulent '70s, you won't go wrong with The Flamethrowers." May 2013 Fiction A to Z newsletter http://www.nextreads.com/Display2.aspx?SID=5acc8fc1-4e91-4ebe-906d-f8fc5e82a8e0&N=635711

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Jun 21, 2013
  • AnneDromeda rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

If you’re looking for a literary summer read that features adventure, brilliant prose, and scathingly witty dialogue, then have I got the book for you. The *Flamethrowers* is the second work of fiction by Rachel Kushner, and could in no way be called a sophomore slump compared to her critically acclaimed first, *Telex from Cuba.*

*The Flamethrowers* is a coming-of-age novel that follows a young woman from her hometown of Reno, Nevada to the New York City art scene in the 1970s. We never learn her name – all other characters just call her after her hometown. Reno finds herself mingling in an image-conscious, social-climbing mix of anarchists, nihilists, minimalists and deconstructionists who bum around art shows and try to be authentically inauthentic.

Most characters don’t ever acknowledge what or who they actually are; those who do won’t allow their roots to be uttered in their presence. While none of them are strictly likable or even sympathetic, they are absolutely glorious waste-bags – lost, drunk, and full of hot air - and a pitch-perfect snapshot of the seventies’ NYC art scene on Kushner’s part.

Reno falls for a suave older artist named Sandro Valera, heir to an Italian family fortune made building tires and motorcycles. During a visit to Villa Valera gone awry, Reno finds herself on the streets just as labour tensions spill over into riots against the Italian upper crust, including Sandro’s family.

Kushner’s prose sustains a tangible sense of place, from the arid salt flats of Nevada, to the electric/anarchic feel of New York’s streets during the 1977 blackout, to lush evenings at villa Valera, and ultimately to the poor Italian neighbourhoods of protesters. Much of the local colour comes from the dialogue of characters in each particular place, but Kushner also adeptly captures the emotional resonance of each location.

The cinematic sense of place and funky seventies cultural throwbacks may appeal to fans of Michael Chabon (especially his *Telegraph Avenue*) but readers should be aware that *The Flamethrowers’* pacing is much faster. Also, the feminist edge to Kushner’s prose might be a welcome antidote to Chabon’s heavy testosterone for some readers. Ultimately, though, any readers who love literary fiction with a retro seventies bent and lots of action will enjoy *The Flamethrowers.*

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app04 Version tobio (tobio) Last updated 2014/09/22 11:30