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Incendiary by Chris Cleave

Incendiary had the misfortune to be released on July 7, the date of terrorist attacks in the London Underground. Chris Cleave's novel begins with a horrific terrorist attack in the new Arsenal football stadium. A woman, half-watching the match on the television while having sex with a journalist, sees the explosion that kills her husband and son at the stadium. In her grief, she writes a letter to Osama bin Laden, which begins each chapter. She falls into a 3-way affair with the journalist and his girlfriend, and her life wanders aimlessly after her loss. She tells her story, as she, as well as the country, struggle to deal with the aftermath. London becomes a city of fear and police control, with revenge and bigotry foisted on its Muslim inhabitants. Incendiary, despite its unfortunate timing and delicate subject matter, has received mostly positive reviews. The Guardian says, "It remains to be seen whether events will effectively scupper Cleave's debut or exponentially boost its profile. Either way it seems likely that the book will get noticed for all the wrong reasons; it would be good to consider that it signals the arrival of a writer who may be worthy of attention for all the right reasons as well."
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The Telegraph review
by Alastair Sooke

The Guardian review
by Alfred Hickling

The Independent review
by Liz Jensen

The Telegraph review
by Lawrence Norfolk

Washington Post review
by Brigitte Weeks

New York Times review
by Michiko Kakutani

BookPage review
by Thane Tierney

New York Times review
by Ian Sansom

Chris Cleave
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