The Flamethrowers

Scribner. Apr. 2013. 383p. ISBN 9781439142004. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781439154175. F
OrangeReviewStarNicknamed for her birthplace, Reno loves speed—so much so that she hopes to set a world record racing her motorcycle on the Nevada salt flats. But she's also there to create a work of art with tire-track imagery, for Reno is indeed an artist, having moved to New York to pursue her interests. Along the grubbier edges of the city, she's met the movers, shakers, and hangers-on of the cutting-edge art scene of the late 1970s, including Sandro Valera, scion of an Italian family whose wealth rests on a vast tire and motorcycle empire. Scornful of his family, the older Sandro is a successful artist and quite a catch for Reno, who despite her tough-as-leather sensibility has something to learn about the cold, manipulative world. And learn she does when she heads to Italy with a reluctant Sandro, having fallen into what looks to be a great opportunity with the Valera racing team while in Nevada. Striking workers and fringe radicals are only a part of her education.
VERDICT National Book Award finalist Kushner (Telex from Cuba) presents an incisive, enthralling portrait of a young woman finding her way. [See Prepub Alert, 10/15/12.]
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