KINDLE [The Flamethrowers]

Rachel Kushner Ð 5 Summary

The Flamethrowers

Summary The Flamethrowers é PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free Rachel Kushner Ð 5 Summary The year is 1975 and Reno so called because of the place of her birth has come to New York intent on turning her fascination with motorcycles and speed into art Her arrival coincides with an explosion of activity in the art world artists have colonized a deserted and industrial SoHo are staging actions in the East Village and are blurring the line between life and art. Much of this book just isn t very good indeed it s uite bad Much of this book is also great not in the sense of very good but in the sense of Great American Novel A tech savvy reviewer could insert a Venn diagram here but I m limited to words there s too much overlap between the great bits and the not good bits Really great Great Books manage to be both good ie competent and great ie fascinating at the same time viz Muriel Spark at her best Failed great books are often great ambitious intellectually stimulating timely but also timeless just when they re also bad viz early Dostoevsky Since FT is meant to be great I m judging it next to later Dostoevsky which is ridiculous but also the only way to take the book as seriously as it wants to be taken So consider the atrocious banality that Kushner stoops to time after time perhaps to perform the banality of the philosophy of time embedded in the novel time had stretched like taffy the night a place we would tumble into and through together a kind of gymnasium a space of generous borders This was a different Italy from what I had experienced during my two semesters in Florence a phrase or one like it repeated ad nauseum lest we forget the oft stated fact that the narrator spent two semesters in Florence There is the woods his cashmere scarf wrapped around my neck for extra warmth I felt like everything was going to be okay just one of many passages that seem to have migrated from the 50 Shades of Grey side of the border I never would have guessed that nay of the bad news would have an impact on me migrated from undergraduate writing seminar this kind of foreshadowing returns again and again as in Helen DeWitt s Lightning Rods except in LR it s satirical unlike this rubbish I wouldn t have guessed that his silence would be so effective It grafted me in To a way of proceeding Of not knowing where we were going except someplace in Rome not knowing where I would stay or what I would doThat last sentence brings me to the lauded prose dazzling sexy glorious urgent etc etc It s just possible that I m showing a real bias against American style prose which makes a mockery of my constant protestations that there s little difference between US lit and other forms of it But take the first paragraph of chapter four of whose ten sentences all but one start I verb and the one that doesn t is one of those fake look at how literary this book is following speech patterns and stuff sentences a way to make an impression on him Then I ll call I knew no one else Now there s a point to all this I ing it shows the narrator s loneliness But much of the book is written in the same way only with a different pronoun at the start of the sentences or at best a concrete noun of some description As the novel develops the writing improves primarily because there s dialogue and so fewer of these awful sub Hemingway sentences as well as less reportage from the immensely boring and yet also implausible Reno Which leads me toVerisimilitude there is none unlike unnecessary inverted word order Reno just an aw shucks girl from Nevada does the following things in 2 years moves to New York sleeps with a famous artist despite not knowing his name makes friends with a woman pretending to be a waitress who is really an artist living as a waitress for the sake of art Sartre alert gets picked up by a different famous artist who is friends with the first one and ends up living with him sets the land speed record for women falls in with a group of Italian Autonomists accidentally seduces their heroic leader fails to help him escape across the border to France not her fault has the stunning intellectual insight that she needs to find an open absence and move on to the next uestion Which would be impressive if she had the looks of insert your favorite movie star here the intelligence of Hannah Arendt the charisma of Ayn Rand and the talents of both Virginia Woolf and Ai Miyazato Unfortunately it is merely incredible She really is just an aw shucks girl from Nevada with no discernible talents though she can work a camera and motorbike personality or attractions Even that would be fine ifi the sections of the book that focus on her were written in the third person but they re in the first person and there s very little indication that the implied author finds hisher narrator to be implausible or ridiculous in any way ii she weren t set up as some kind of Greek Goddess who can as I said go at 300 miles an hour slip easily between radically different groups of people and effortlessly conuer the penises of men All men Interlude Alison Bechdel suggests that one way to judge books is to see whether female characters have conversations that are about something other than boys This is the Bechdel Test and it s both funny and smart There needs to be another test which I hereby name the Evans Test Here you judge a book according to whether the main character can have a relationship with a man or woman depending on which genitals they like the shape of that is not sexual or romantic Reno fails despite the fact that she never actually hits on anyone And speaking of the Bechdel test the female characters are all either Reno bitches or skanks and if Kushner s first name was Robert he d be rightly consigned to hell by angry women readers I m not sure that Kushner herself will escape itThen there s the cliched intellectual sentiments that the poor Italian proles are welcoming and genuinely live out their political beliefs by giving Reno food for instance the value of ideas and politics in this book often boils down to whether they turn their holders into the kind of person who gives HOT young women whatever they want whereas the New York artists are too cold and detached Yes the poor are wonderful whereas the rich are unbearable That is precisely the effect of poverty on people it opens their hearts makes them generous inclines them to accept outsidersThe book s X motif is tiresome beginning with the description of a photo in which a gun barrel is one long half of the letter X in other words there is no X there at all it s just a diagonal Other examples Reno and Sandro s first date is him fingering her and then him saving a drowning man and these two events crossed to form an X and the X pinned us together Reno skis an X into a frozen pond and photographs it a man encourages characters to watch a porn movie that s Trippel X Just in case you didn t notice it s like sex and violence and art and stuff And like growing up and coming to a crossroads about this stuff And making your mark like knowing your place in the world and stuff Now reboot because there are some truly fantastic wonderful things about this book Kushner takes on the difficult task of writing a serious book about camp people The clash between the authenticity of futurismbikesspeedrevolution and the fakeness of artfulnessartirony is well drawn and not simplified there are good characters who are sincere Gianni and good characters who are ironic Ronnie A couple of examples of this opposition playing itself out Sandro chooses love suggesting that he isn t really living it whereas Reno doesn t experience love as a choice and reuires sincerity from her friendslovers Sandro plays with guns and treats them like art whereas the Autonomists use them as tools to defend themselves from fascists You get the point This is a serious timely issue that Kushner treats with great sensitivity and great intelligence There are terrific minor characters too particularly Chesil Jones notable American novelist who is pretty much embodied Mansplaining and utterly hilarious The aforementioned Ronnie who tells endless nonsense tales about himself in order to tell us the truth rather than to hide it is wonderful and very moving And so I came to the end of the book Stream of consciousness Verbless sentences and pompous Words posing as thought Individuality None Rhythm Negatively absent How much longer Time lines of one man stand only so much Revelation Sad post coital emptiness I will read everything that Kushner publishes from here out in the desperate hope that she develops into the real thing I would have felt the same way after reading say Joyce s Portrait of the Artist in 1916 another ridiculously self important Bildungsroman the ending of which When the soul of a man is born in this country there are nets flung at it to hold it back from flight You talk to me of nationality language religion I shall try to fly by those nets I ve come to read ironically just to save myself the pain of rolling my eyes too hard although when younger I found it a call to arms So I choose to read all that silliness about open absences and blah blah blah as Kushner showing us that Reno hasn t changed at all and is still just a twit whereas she Kushner has great things ahead of her Addendum I just read a review in which Kushner described one of the aims of the book to have her narrator perceived by the men and even women in the story as nothing other than a pretty little piece of tail but have the reader see her depths clearly That s a pretty great idea and does make me think better of what she was trying to do On the other hand I wonder if the task is just impossible Reno s flat outer life just isn t distinguishable I think from what Kushner intends to be her full inner life Great idea possibly impossible to execute well

Read The Flamethrowers

Summary The Flamethrowers é PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free Rachel Kushner Ð 5 Summary He seventies Betrayal sends her reeling into a clandestine undertow The Flamethrowers is an intensely engaging exploration of the mystiue of the feminine the fake the terrorist At its center is Kushner’s brilliantly realized protagonist a young woman on the verge Thrilling and fearless this is a major American novel from a writer of spectacular talent and imaginatio. Her Name is Reno and She Dances on the Hand Sometimes a cigar is only a cigar Sigmund FreudOur protagonist Reno hails from Reno Nevada She s in her early 20s loves motorcycles goes to NYC in 1975 with a nebulous plan to create art incorporating her need for speed not the drug She hangs out with a number of artsy narcisisstic tarts and farts each of whom loves to blow hot air After many vapid verbal volleys among these SoHo denizens our girl becomes involved and moves in with an Italian dude who is nearly 40 and heir to a tiremotorcycle empire in Italia They go to a nearly empty cinema where Tony Manera surreptitiously starts her dancing on his hand while they watch the film I tend to agree with an article I saw some time back lauding Ms Kushner for writing sex well Reading this scene is apt to make most readers hot and bothered They travel to Italy She briefly becomes entangled with a workers rights radical group in Rome After arriving back in NYC she hears a tragic auto history of her first NYC flame The novel was most interesting for its illustration of the pretentiousness of the movers players and hangers among the world of art which also brings up the novel s drawback too much for me high brow talk talk with a fusion of the esoteric and erotic which both titillates and etiolates

review È PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free Ð Rachel Kushner

Summary The Flamethrowers é PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free Rachel Kushner Ð 5 Summary Reno meets a group of dreamers and raconteurs who submit her to a sentimental education of sorts Ardent vulnerable and bold she begins an affair with an artist named Sandro Valera the semi estranged scion of an Italian tire and motorcycle empire When they visit Sandro’s family home in Italy Reno falls in with members of the radical movement that overtook Italy in t. No matter how young and hip you think you are every so often some cultural product that you don t get at all gets rave reviews and some measure of success indicating that the world has turned and left you behind transforming you instantly into an aged grump who mutters things about the kids these days Well now I m telling The Flamethrowers to get off of my lawnThis book is covered with glowing reviews albeit from authors like Karen Russell another cultural product I don t get and Dana Spiotta whose Stone Arabia was also overhyped and disappointing about Kushner being a bold new voice and a brilliant writer which made me want to read it even though it s about a young woman who rides motorcycles and is way into the avant garde 1970s New York artpolitical scene which all set off huge warning bells Riding motorcycles as a character trait is fine when you re a character in a four minute Bruce Springsteen song but not so much in a novel where you should probably have something interesting about you other than the type of vehicle you utilize for transport Also there are few people less interesting in this world than self described avant garde artists But it s not just those writers who love this I haven t read a single bad review and I ve looked spurred on by the ever present fear of being the only one who doesn t get something As one might expect for a book about artists who are interested in explaining their work than making art this book is all style over substance and dozens of pages are routinely wasted on naught but the vapid verbal exchanges at gatherings of untalented conceptual artists who all speak to each other in ridiculous mission statements and bumper sticker philosophies that attempt to justify their narcissistic navel gazing For example at one party the artists all listen to an extended monologue one of them has recorded on a reel to reel about how real estate agents always say home never house etc which leads to a second monologue about how this is an insightful investigation of the importance of words in consumerism and blah blah blah In another particularly dreadful line the lead character Reno finds herself thinking in the voice of her friend a former Warhol Factory groupie who now believes that her job as a diner waitress is a sort of performance art who says that the three most cowardly acts were to exhibit ambition to become famous or to kill yourself That is at least as dumb as that Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man line Better to be dead and cool than alive and uncool Also in general if something reminds you of a Don Johnson movie it probably is not Great Art If the greatest crime in the art world is being boring then Reno is a dastardly criminal completely passive naive and blase Since even the other characters comment on how simple she is her lack of insight isn t enough to sustain a chapter much less a novelThere are occasional forays into other stories outside of 1970s New York that are a bit successful but they re still not very interesting and they aren t well integrated with the rest of the story The reviews of this book all praise its prose imagination and energy but I just didn t get it Although I generally like modern art these artists are much like Jeff Koons Three Ball 5050 Tank than Tom Sachs clever and funny Nutsy s no joie de vivre or sense of humor This book was decidedly disappointing


10 thoughts on “KINDLE [The Flamethrowers]

  1. says: KINDLE [The Flamethrowers]

    KINDLE [The Flamethrowers] Much of this book just isn't very good indeed it's uite bad Much of this book is also great not in the sense of 'very good' but in the sense of Great American Novel A tech savvy reviewer could insert a Venn diagram here but I'm limited to words there's too much overlap between the 'great' bits and the 'not good' bits Really great Great Books manage to be both good ie competent and great ie fascinating at the same time

  2. says: Read The Flamethrowers KINDLE [The Flamethrowers] Rachel Kushner Ð 5 Summary

    KINDLE [The Flamethrowers] Rachel Kushner Ð 5 Summary Reading this was like sitting in the back of a cab You're pretty sure you're headed SOMEWHERE but the way is circuitous confusing and sometimes nonsensical It drives just like a cab uick accelerations that slam you into the seat and

  3. says: KINDLE [The Flamethrowers]

    Rachel Kushner Ð 5 Summary review È PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free Ð Rachel Kushner Read The Flamethrowers The critic James Wood in his review for the New Yorker pin points it perfectlyRachel Kushner’s second novel “The Flamethrowers” Scribner is scintillatingly alive and also alive to artifice It ripples with stories an

  4. says: KINDLE [The Flamethrowers] Read The Flamethrowers

    review È PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free Ð Rachel Kushner KINDLE [The Flamethrowers] Rachel Kushner Ð 5 Summary I remember when John Banville won the Booker Prize someone remarked that despite the enormous cultural changes in our world British writers were still writing about art historians The New York art scene seems to serve a sim

  5. says: review È PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free Ð Rachel Kushner KINDLE [The Flamethrowers] Rachel Kushner Ð 5 Summary

    Read The Flamethrowers Rachel Kushner Ð 5 Summary review È PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free Ð Rachel Kushner No matter how young and hip you think you are every so often some cultural product that you don’t get at all gets rave reviews and some measure of success indicating that the world has turned and left you behind transforming you i

  6. says: KINDLE [The Flamethrowers] review È PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free Ð Rachel Kushner Read The Flamethrowers

    KINDLE [The Flamethrowers] There isn’t much plot in this novel but it is a hell of storyBildungsroman of a young woman known as just Reno a

  7. says: KINDLE [The Flamethrowers]

    review È PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free Ð Rachel Kushner Rachel Kushner Ð 5 Summary KINDLE [The Flamethrowers] I love the cinematic flow of this book with a young female lead character Reno who passes through life leaving few marks She is a recent art school graduate from Nevada who moves to New York in the late 70’s wher

  8. says: KINDLE [The Flamethrowers]

    KINDLE [The Flamethrowers] Rachel Kushner Ð 5 Summary review È PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free Ð Rachel Kushner Her Name is Reno and She Dances on the Hand Sometimes a cigar is only a cigar Sigmund FreudOur protagonist Reno hails from Reno Nevad

  9. says: review È PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free Ð Rachel Kushner Rachel Kushner Ð 5 Summary Read The Flamethrowers

    Rachel Kushner Ð 5 Summary KINDLE [The Flamethrowers] The Flamethrowers follows Reno a would be artist nicknamed after her hometown who moves to New York and through a relatio

  10. says: Rachel Kushner Ð 5 Summary KINDLE [The Flamethrowers]

    Read The Flamethrowers Rachel Kushner Ð 5 Summary review È PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free Ð Rachel Kushner I've been looking forward to reading this just started but already I'm caught up The chunkiness of the prose the good crunchiness of it just the choice of words with shape and weight and texture has me the great tactile metaphors I hear this book I taste it Snap crackle pop Loved this book the speed of it the description of things as well as emotion the machinery of the world I adored the way she recalled the Seventies to me its grungine

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