Written as an open letter to Osama bin Laden from a distraught woman whose husband and son were killed in a massive suicide bombing, Incendiary was published in the UK on July 7, 2005— eerily, the day of the London underground bombings. It went on to win the 2006 Somerset Maugham Award; was shortlisted for the 2006 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize; won the United States’ Book-of-the-Month Club’s First Fiction Award; and won the Prix Special du Jury at the French Prix des Lecteurs 2007.
- Simon & Schuster Audio |
- ISBN 9781442354241 |
- June 2012
Novelist Chris Cleave Discusses Incendiary
Reading Group Guide
A distraught woman writes a letter to Osama bin Laden after her four-year-old son and her husband are killed in a massive suicide bomb attack at a soccer match in London. In an emotionally raw voice alive with grief, compassion, and startling humor, she tries to convince Osama to abandon his terror campaign by revealing to him the desperate sadness and the broken heart of a working-class life blown apart. But the bombing is only the beginning. While security measures transform London into a virtual occupied territory, the unnamed narrator, too, finds herself under siege. At first she gains strength by fighting back, taking a civilian job with the police to aid the antiterrorist effort. But when she becomes involved with an upper-class couple, she is drawn into a psychological maelstrom of guilt, ambition, and cynicism that erodes her faith in the society she’s working to defend. And when a new bomb threat sends the city into a deadly panic, she is pushed to acts of unfathomable desperation—perhaps her only chance for survi see more