Friday, March 25, 2011

Chris Cleeve, INCENDIARY

Almost as harrowing as LITTLE BEE. He wrote this one first; I've never seen the movie; I'm not sure I could watch it. This novel probably has one of the most compelling first-person voices I've read--I almost wrote heard--it's that much of a "voice"--in a while. She loses her son and her husband in a bombing; and this narrative is an open letter to Osama bin Laden. Opening lines: "Dear Osama they want you dead or alive so the terror will stop. Well I wouldn't know about that I mean rock 'n' roll didn't stop when Elvis died on the khazi it just got worse. Next thing you know there was Sonny & Cher and Dexys Midnight Runners. I'll come to them later. My point is it's easier to start these things than to finish them. I suppose you thought of that did you?" One of the many elements that makes this novel almost poetic is the way the content and theme go hand-in-hand. If you've read LB, you can guess this book (INCENDIARY) is not going to have much in the way of closure. And that's part of the wretchedly sad point. There is no finish. And in this book, he suggests this from the shape and content of these first sentences to the structure of the whole narrative arc. Painful, but good.

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