The Flamethrowers. A Novel
New York: Scribner, 2013. 1st Edition. Octavo, publisher's ivory cloth over red paper-covered boards, spine gilt, original illustrated dust jacket.
Novel of the century (so far), acclaimed writer Kushner's breakout book, her second, about a young woman artist's sentimental education in the burgeoning SoHo art scene of the 1970s and among far-left radicals in Italy, with motorcycles, rubber plantations, World War I, faded aristocrats, and seedy English novelists thrown in for good measure. Signed by Kushner on the title-page. Nominated for a National Book Award, the book ignited controversy when a high-profile male reviewer wrote "Kushner is out to create a mystique, and her book is full of portentous atmosphere and self-conscious cool. In other words, The Flamethrowers manages to be a macho novel by and about women, which may explain why it has been received so enthusiastically by the critics" (Tablet), drawing a rebuke from Kushner on Facebook: "there are various things going on here, one of which may be the idea that women are supposed to write 'like women,' and Kirsch is holding me up as outside of that, in hopes of finding out why critics have liked my book, despite its being, haha, by a woman. And secondly, a sense of the writer as self-consciously 'cool.' But, Adam Kirsch, with all due respect, there is nothing 'cool' about writing novels. It takes years and years of solitary work and deep and quiet and very uncool thinking to do it." First printing, with complete number row to copyright page. Fine in unclipped dust jacket. Item #6644