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The Incendiaries

R. O. Kwon

11 Reviews

Rated 0

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

'In dazzlingly acrobatic prose, R. O. Kwon explores the lines between faith and fanaticism, passion and violence, the rational and the unknowable' CELESTE NG

'Absolutely electric' Garth Greenwell

'A major talent' Financial Times 'Reminiscent of Donna Tartt's The Secret History'
New Yorker Phoebe Lin and Will Kendall fall in love at 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 from Bible college.

But a charismatic former student draws Phoebe into his cult - an extremist group with secretive ties to North Korea. When the group bombs several buildings in the name of faith, killing five people, Phoebe disappears. Will devotes himself to finding her, tilting into obsession himself, discovering how far we can go when we lose what we love.

'An important new writer' The Times

'R. O. Kwon is the real deal' Lauren Groff

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Praise for The Incendiaries

  • Fairy-tale quality reminiscent of Donna Tartt's The Secret History - New Yorker

  • 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 . . . a startlingly assured book by an important new writer - Guardian, Book of the Day

  • A pulsating, hypnotic debut novel . . . Kwon's subject is not so much love and betrayal - though both forces are

  • presented as elementally destructive - as the power of religion, and the grieving that engulfs those

  • who lose faith. She understands what a believer will do to retain her sense of belonging, to never be

  • lonely again . . . The Incendiaries packs a disruptive charge, and introduces RO Kwon as a major talent - Financial Times

  • What an intriguing novel. Told in spare, revealing prose from the three central characters' points of view, it makes the reader look again at faith, fanaticism and identity - Daily Mail

  • Radiant . . . a dark, absorbing story of how first love can be as intoxicating and dangerous as religious fundamentalism . . . - New York Times Book Review

  • An impressive, assured debut about the hope for personal and political revolution and all the unexpected ways it flickers out. Kwon has vital things to say about the fraught times we live in

  • The Incendiaries is a God-haunted, willful, strange book written with a kind of savage elegance. I've said it before, but now I'll shout it from the rooftops: R. O. Kwon is the real deal

  • Every explosive requires a fuse. That's R. O. Kwon's novel, a straight, slow-burning fuse. To read her novel is to follow an inexorable flame coming closer and closer to the object it will detonate-the characters, the crime, the story, and, ultimately, the reader

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R. O. Kwon

R. O. Kwon is a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellow. Her writing has appeared in The Guardian, Time, Vice, BuzzFeed, the San Francisco Chronicle, Playboy, Noon, Electric Literature, and elsewhere. She has received awards from Yaddo, MacDowell, the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, the Sewanee Writers' Conference, Omi International, the Steinbeck Center, and the Norman Mailer Writers Colony. Born in South Korea, Kwon has lived most of her life in the United States.

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