Rachel Kushner || The Flamethrowers

I absolutely loved the pages in which main character Reno shares her love for speeding with us. I wouldn’t have believed that a description of motor racing or skiing could be this poetic. This is for a large part due to the images she creates. Reno sees speeding as a way of leaving visible trails, which she can then use as an art form, by taking pictures of them. Reno talks in images using beautiful dreamy almost poetic language which made me want to read on.
Kushner tells us that pictures of New York artists, a black out and Italian riots inspired her. Strangely enough this bond between words and pictures is shown most clearly when Reno is talking and does not surface when Kushner takes us to the New York artist scene in the seventies. She cannot convey to her own book the vibrancy and guts she saw in those pictures. I had to force myself to keep on reading when the artists where talking, whereas I was mesmerised by Reno. Maybe Kushner created this effect: Reno does not seem to belong amongst the artists or later the revolutionaries in Italy, she does not always get what is happening around her. She feels lost a lot of times. If that is the reason Kushner made me struggle through those pages, she has succeeded. I am afraid however that she has not managed to write a well balanced novel. Beautiful and poetic whenever Reno is telling the story, boring and even pompous when the artists take over.


About booksandliliane

I am an avid reader and love to share my love for literature. I have my own opinion on books that have been shortlisted, laureated by critics or are pushed on us by bookstores. I will try and explain why I like or do not like a book. Hopefully influencing you in your choice of books to read.
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2 Responses to Rachel Kushner || The Flamethrowers

  1. Col says:

    Beautiful poetic boring and pompous all on the same book sounds like the very definition of ‘a mixed bag’. Enjoyed review and on strength of it I will give this book a wide berth!

    • You could just skip through the pages in which Kushner lets the artists talk – mostly about their art. I would not want you to miss out on Reno and the way she talks to us.

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