Friday, December 26, 2008


I'm trying to read a couple more books in Polish to finish the year's 888 challenge, so am picking up whatever my Mom has recently bought and read and can recommend to me. Chris Cleave's first novel Incendiary is such a book.

The story is told from the point of view of a woman who loses her husband and 4-year-old son during a fictional terrorist attack in London and takes the shape of a letter she is writing to Osama bin Laden. In it she tries to make sense of what happened and to move on. Her voice is very real, which makes for some very good reading. I found parts of the story unconvincing and even forced, but I liked the main character and felt for her, which made for a good reading experience. I probably would not have bought this book myself, but now that I know the author I'll be curious to see what his other books are about.

In a terrible coincidence, this book was published on 7 July 2005, which was the day of the attacks in London. But even without this, the subject matter treated in it is realistic and Cleave made a good effort to show a few individuals trying to make sense of the new reality that exists around us. Unfortunately, there are many who try to take advantage of this reality and the new power balance, but that's life. I don't want to give away any of the story, but I want to mention that I also liked how the author treated the politics of terrorism and some of the decisions that are taken in its midst. Disturbing stuff.

Challenges: 888 Challenge

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