Portrait of Rachel Kushner

Rachel Kushner

Rachel Kushner’s ambitious, devastatingly accomplished The Flamethrowers was probably the most talked-about American novel of 2013. Her fans include Jonathan Franzen and Colm Toibin.

The Flamethrowers is a fictional cocktail that combines the 1970s New York art scene, motorcycle racing, the First World War and political upheaval in Italy and New York, all brought to life by a cast of charismatic, intricately realised characters.

Literary tastemaker James Wood lavished it with praise in a hefty New Yorker review, calling it ‘scintillatingly alive … a pure explosion of now’ and admiring Kushner’s ‘eerie confidence … which constantly entwines the invented with the real’.