Welcome to Pret-a-Reporter’s inaugural Preta Book Club selection! This month, we will be reading (digesting, living, breathing) Rachel Kushner’s The Flame Throwers, which was a National Book Award Finalist in 2013 and will undoubtedly have legs well into the new year and beyond.
In her sophomore effort (following 2008’s Telex from Cuba), Kushner weaves an unusual narrative in which the intersection of art, geopolitics and relationships takes us from the trenches of WWI to the art scene of '70s New York to the salt flats of Utah, all with a shocking seamlessness. Critic James Wood calls The Flame Throwers "scintillatingly alive, and also alive to artifice," as told primarily in the voice of Kushner’s unnamed protagonist, a young artist who falls in love with an Italian sculptor and soon learns -- well, we’ll get to that!
Each Wednesday from 1 to 1:30 p.m. PT, we will host a live blog to discuss the previous week's reading assignment. In addition to sparking scintillating debate and literary camaraderie, joining the Preta Book Club will also automatically qualify you for a chance to win fun prizes related to the book and the general Preta world at large.
Our first live blog discussion will take place next Wednesday, Feb. 12. We will be chatting about chapters 1 to 7 of The Flame Throwers, which ominously begin, "He killed him with a motorbike headlamp." Readers, start your engines!