The Flamethrowers

A Novel

  • reading group guide
  • bestseller
  • customer reviews
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST • NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF 2013 BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

New York magazine’s number one book of the year and named a Best Book of 2013 by The Wall Street Journal; Vogue; O, The Oprah Magazine; Los Angeles Times; The San Francisco Chronicle; The New Yorker; Time; Flavorwire; Salon; Slate; The Daily Beast; Bookish; The Jewish Daily Forward; The Austin American-Statesman; Complex; and The Millions, Rachel Kushner’s The Flamethrowers was a finalist for the National Book Award and a New York Times bestseller.

Includes a new essay by the author, with a folio of images

Reno, so-called because of the place of her birth, comes to New York intent on turning her fascination with motorcycles and speed into art. Her arrival coincides with an explosion of activity—artists colonize a deserted and industrial SoHo, stage actions in the East Village, blur the line between life and art. Reno is submitted to a sentimental education of sorts—by dreamers, poseurs, and raconteurs in New York and by radicals in Italy, where she goes with her lover to meet his estranged and formidable family. Ardent, vulnerable, and bold, Reno is a fiercely memorable observer, superbly realized by Rachel Kushner.

“Superb…Scintillatingly alive…A pure explosion of now.”—The New Yorker
Choose a format:
Buy from us:
  • Scribner | 
  • 416 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439142011 | 
  • January 2014
Add to Cart
List Price $17.00
Usually ships within 1 business day

Read an Excerpt

2. Spiritual America

I walked out of the sun, unfastening my chin strap. Sweat was pooling along my collarbone, trickling down my back and into my nylon underwear, running down my legs under the leather racing suit. I took off my helmet and the heavy leather jacket, set them on the ground, and unzipped the vents in my riding pants.

I stood for a long time tracking the slow drift of clouds, great fluffy masses sheared flat along their bottom edges like they were melting on a hot griddle.

There were things I had no choice but to overlook, like wind effect on clouds, while flying down the highway at a hundred miles an hour. I... see more

Reading Group Guide

This Scribner reading group guide for The Flamethrowers includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Introduction

The young and impressionable unnamed narrator of The Flamethrowers, occasionally referred to by other characters as “Reno,” grew up in that Nevada town, riding motorcycles with her rough and tumble cousins, and studied fine art at the University of Nevada. When she moves to New York in 1975 with little more than a camera, she finds a fast-paced downtown art world of makers, fakers, manipulators, lovers, and friends. She begins dating a golden boy of that world, Sandro Valera, an artist and wealthy heir to an Italian motorcycle fortune. For an art project, ‘Reno’ rides a Moto Valera in the land speed trials on the Bonneville Salt Flats. She is invited to travel with the Valera race team in Italy, but when she goes to Sandro’s ancestral estate to meet his family, she discovers a rift she can’t bridge, one that sends her spiraling through betrayal, and into a radical scene in Rome.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1.Reno wants to create Land Art in the manner of iconic artists like Rober see more

More Books from this Author

Explore

CONNECT WITH US

Get a FREE eBook
when you join our mailing list!