Read The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon Online

The Incendiaries

A powerful, darkly glittering novel of violence, love, faith, and loss, as a young 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 groupa secretive extremist cultfounded 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 disappear...

Title : The Incendiaries
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780735213890
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 214 pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Incendiaries Reviews

  • Rebecca

    The Incendiaries is a sophisticated, unsettling debut novel about faith and its aftermath, fractured through the experience of three people coming to terms with painful circumstances. Will Kendall left his California Bible college when he lost his faith. Soon after transferring to Edwards in upstate New York, he falls for Phoebe Lin at a party. Although he’s working in a restaurant to pay his way, he hides his working-class background to fit in with Phoebe and her glitzy, careless friends. Phoeb

    “This has been the cardinal fiction of my life, its ruling principle: if I work hard enough, I’ll get what I want.”

    “People with no experience of God tend to think that leaving the faith would be a liberation, a flight from guilt, rules, but what I couldn’t forget was the joy I’d known, loving Him.”

    Note: An excerpt from The Incendiaries appeared in The Best Small Fictions 2016 (ed. Stuart Dybek), which I reviewed for the Small Press Book Review. I was interested to look back and see that, at that point, her work in progress was entitled Heroics.

    Originally published on my blog, Bookish Beck. ...more

  • Elaine Mullane

    The Incendiaries by Korean-American author, R.O. Kwon has been called one of the most highly anticipated debuts of 2018 and rightly so.

    In this small but razor sharp book, three Korean-American students' lives are intertwined while attending a university on the East Coast. Will has recently transferred from Bible College, having rejected both religion and fundamentalism, and Phoebe is a campus sweetheart still grieving the loss of her mother. Both come under the influence of John Leal, a charisma

  • Roman Clodia

    A short book and a fast read but the writing style is fuzzy and imprecise so that the whole thing has a foggy, opaque feel. As others have said, the publisher blurb talks this up and gives away the whole plot, such as it is. The idea is good but the book feels oddly detached, more cerebral than the material warrants.

    What is smart, though, is telling the whole thing through Will's eyes, even the sections marked Phoebe and John Leal, so that we see his imaginings and fantasisings after the end.


  • Hannah

    I have many thoughts about this book and I am very conflicted about my feelings and my rating. As is customary in such cases, here are my thoughts, first in list form than more elaborated:


    - prose

    - the interesting way R. O. Kwon plays with perspective

    - the subversion of tropes


    - plot

    - characters

    This book is told from three perspectives: Will, who has lost his faith in god and his plan for his life, his girlfriend Phoebe, who lost her faith in her piano talent and her mother, and John, th

  • Ron Charles

    “The Incendiaries” is a sharp little novel as hard to ignore as a splinter in your eye. You keep blinking at these pages, struggling to bring the story into some comforting focus, convinced you can look past its unsettling intimations. But R.O. Kwon, the 35-year-old Korean American author, doesn’t make it easy to get her debut out of your system.

    At its core, “The Incendiaries” is about religious fervor, which has long functioned as America’s nuclear fuel: useful and energizing, except when it me

  • Sara

    While The Incendiaries presented an engaging story, it is bogged down by the writing. Ornate descriptions and archaic word choices detracted from the storyline. Passages like: “Now that I had time, the hours felt like a wasteland. I crossed it, back and forth. Old ambitions flopped like stranded fish.” “It could be a sign; a Daedalus thread, the implied promise of return.” “The coarse hair strewn in Phoebe’s sheets, bijou rays of gold”. Instead of enhancing the imagery, the pretentiousness of th ...more

  • Andrew Campbell

    Really disappointed in this one.

    The story is worthwhile, the themes are even better. But it fails in almost every respect of the telling.

    First-person was a mistake. Both the primary characters frequently sound like mouthpieces. And why are they telling the story in this way? The form is unimaginable; are these confessions? Who’s taking them down, God? Now there’s irony for ya...

    The prose is extremely mannered, and, even, I proffer, unintelligible in places. (See what I did there?) And the dictio

  • angelareadsbooks

    This is one of those books I wanted to love but unfortunately missed the mark for me. The concept itself was interesting enough, but I found it difficult to engage with the characters and plot development. It is possible that there were formatting issues in my advance reader copy, as I had a hard time deciphering whose point of view it was, as well as distinguishing between dialogue and narration. Hopefully those issues became more clear in the final copy of this book. I know many others did enj ...more