R.O. KwonSunday, August 4, 2019 @ 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Join us for a reading with R.O. Kwon as she presents her award-winning novel The Incendiaries. The reading will be followed by a discussion lead by Pittsburgh author Anjali Sachdeva.
(This program will be held downstairs in our intimate Word Cellar.)
A powerful, darkly glittering novel about violence, love, faith, and loss, as a young Korean American woman at an elite American university is drawn into acts of domestic terrorism by a cult tied to North Korea.
Phoebe Lin and Will Kendall meet their first month at prestigious Edwards University. Phoebe is a glamorous girl who doesn’t tell anyone she blames herself for her mother’s recent death. Will is a misfit scholarship boy who transfers to Edwards from Bible college, waiting tables to get by. What he knows for sure is that he loves Phoebe.
Grieving and guilt-ridden, Phoebe is increasingly drawn into a religious group—a secretive extremist cult—founded by a charismatic former student, John Leal. He has an enigmatic past that involves North Korea and Phoebe’s Korean American family. Meanwhile, Will struggles to confront the fundamentalism he’s tried to escape, and the obsession consuming the one he loves. When the group bombs several buildings in the name of faith, killing five people, Phoebe disappears. Will devotes himself to finding her, tilting into obsession himself, seeking answers to what happened to Phoebe and if she could have been responsible for this violent act.
The Incendiaries is a fractured love story and a brilliant examination of the minds of extremist terrorists, and of what can happen to people who lose what they love most.
R.O. Kwon’s nationally bestselling first novel, The Incendiaries, is published by Riverhead, and it is being translated into five languages. Named a best book of the year by over forty publications, it is an American Booksellers Association Indie Next #1 Pick and an Indies Introduce selection. The Incendiaries was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Award for Best First Book, Los Angeles Times First Book Prize, and Northern California Independent Booksellers Association Fiction Prize. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Paris Review, BuzzFeed, NPR, and elsewhere.
“The most buzzed-about debut of the summer, as it should be…unusual and enticing…The Incendiaries arrives at precisely the right moment.”—The Washington Post
“A startlingly assured book by an important new writer.”—The Guardian
“Religion, politics, and love collide in this slim but powerful novel reminiscent of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, with menace and mystery lurking in every corner.”—People Magazine