Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Incendiary

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Incendiary

by Chris Cleave

Incendiary by Chris Cleave X
Incendiary by Chris Cleave
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2005, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2006, 256 pages

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Beyond the Book

This article relates to Incendiary

Print Review

Cleave's novel was published in England on July 7th 2005 - the same day that four bombs were exploded in London. The UK publisher immediately quieted its publicity machine and took down ads in the London Underground, and Cleave posted a note to fans wondering whether he should continue promoting Incendiary. The reaction from the USA publisher was quite different, with Knopf ramping up their publicity machine and the initial print run, and offering Cleave as a different kind of commentator on the tragedy saying, "We hear so much from talking heads and security experts, but what Chris brings to life is the real human experience of losing a loved one to an act of violence".

The post publication reviews in the UK and USA were split passionately between people believing it to be a gritty portrayal of modern life versus those who thought it simple sensationalism.  Even the 'timeliness' of the book came  under criticism with some pointing out that far from being prescient, the novel was arguably already out-of-date because Cleave portrays a London teetering on the edge of collapse following a major bombing - which is not what happened in the 1940s and is quite clearly not what happened last year either!

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This "beyond the book article" relates to Incendiary. It originally ran in August 2005 and has been updated for the September 2006 paperback edition. Go to magazine.

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