Sunday, February 14, 2016

Book 128: Incendiary by Chris Cleave

I began this book several years ago but couldn't finish it. Not because it was bad, but because it was wrong for that time of my life and state of mind. I plucked it from my book shelf a few weeks ago because I felt bad that I had left it unfinished. I suppose it made an impact on me, one way or another.

Like it or love it, Cleave's stream-of-consciousness style in Incendiary lends itself to the main character's state of mind, education, and lot in life. The tragic and all-too-real story is told from the perspective of a wife and mother who loses everything in a terrorist attack. Her story is told in the form of a diary or letter - I can't figure out which, exactly - and it's directed to Osama bin Laden.

I won't let loose all of the dirty little details (there are many), but I will tell you that once I started this book - for the second time and at the right time - I couldn't put it down. I read it all in several evenings. It's back on the shelf, but I get the distinct feeling that I've missed some elements that Cleave desperately wanted me to grasp - so a second time through may be warranted.

This book is a bit disturbing, so if you have a problem with sex and violence, you might want to steer clear of it. For me, the disturbing parts were balanced by the character's fortitude and gift for survival despite her circumstances. I'd recommend it, with that in mind.

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