“Incendiary is written as a letter novel or epistolary novel, of a woman living in London who lost her husband and young son of 4 years 3 months old to Osama Bin Laden' act of terroism. In telling her story she recounts the community she lives in, the very thing she was doing at the time they were killed and she explains a plethora of emotions she is left to deal with; in the early part of the letter. She says "I want to be the last mother in the WORLD who ever has to write you a letter like this".
The book is divided into four parts, one for each of our seasons starting with spring ending in the winter. The letter writer is a working class housewife whose husband worked as a cop in bomb disposal.
Their day starts as normal as any other except on this Saturday while taking his son to a football match him and his son is blown to bits, leaving the only identifiable trace; his teeth. Meanwhile back at the house the wife is reaching an orgasm in a sorbid affair when the unthinkable happens at the football stadium.
Surprisingly the letter writer doesn't sound like she is grieving; I hear more guilt than anything. Yes, she was affected by the deaths in her own way but you really don't feel it in the story. What I felt while reading was the rants and raving of a woman gone mad, which when I think about it maybe its how Cleave wanted to show her grief. Incendiary wasn't about terrorism; its two main themes are loss and moving on. The loss of hope and life, the idea of moving on when everyone has gone back to THEIR normal lives, but out of the ashes of those affected HOW can they press forward.
Cleave decision to give the narrator a London tongue, which was lost on this reader. In the very beginning I found myself looking up words which stopped the flow of the story. Words like sneering off, wankers and 1 nil to the arsenal, what is that?
I wanted so badly to love this book, but the dialect was too frustrating for this English girl from America.
(Paperback provided as a review book) ”