Join us for this special in-conversation event with bestselling debut novelists R.O. Kwon and Danya Kukafka
The Incendiaries is a powerful, darkly glittering novel of violence, love, faith, and loss, as a young woman at an elite American university is drawn into a cult's acts of terrorism.
Phoebe Lin and Will Kendall meet in 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 drawn into a secretive cult founded by a charismatic former student with an enigmatic past. When the group commits a violent act in the name of faith, Will finds himself struggling to confront a new version of the fanaticism he's worked so hard to escape. Haunting and intense, The Incendiaries is a fractured love story that explores what can befall those who lose what they love most.
R. O. Kwon is a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellow. Her writing is published or forthcoming in The Guardian, Vice, Buzzfeed, Time, Noon, Electric Literature, Playboy, and elsewhere. She has received awards from Yaddo, MacDowell, the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, the Sewanee Writers' Conference, Omi International, the Steinbeck Center, and the Norman Mailer Writers' Colony. Born in South Korea, she has lived most of her life in the United States.
Danya Kukafka is a graduate of New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study. Her debut novel, Girl in Snow, became a national bestseller-- translated into over a dozen languages worldwide, it received Hearst's Crime Novel of the Year Award in the UK. She lives in Seattle.
"Remarkable...Every page blooms with sensuous language...These are characters in quiet crisis, burning, above all, to know themselves, and Kwon leads them, confidently, to an enthralling end." - Paris Review
"A God-haunted, willful, strange book written with a kind of savage elegance. I've said it before, but now I'll shout it from the rooftops: R. O. Kwon is the real deal." - Lauren Groff, author of Fates and Furies and Florida
"Every explosive requires a fuse. That's R. O. Kwon's novel, a straight, slow-burning fuse. To read her novel is to follow an inexorable flame coming closer and closer to the object it will detonate--the characters, the crime, the story, and, ultimately, the reader." - Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of The Sympathizer and The Refugees
" The Incendiaries probes the seductive and dangerous places to which we drift when loss unmoors us. In dazzlingly acrobatic prose, R. O. Kwon explores the lines between faith and fanaticism, passion and violence, the rational and the unknowable." - Celeste Ng, author of Little Fires Everywhere and Everything I Never Told You
"Absolutely electric, something new in the firmament. Everyone should read this book." - Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You
"A swift, sensual novel about the unraveling of a collegiate relationship and its aftermath. Kwon writes gracefully about the spiritual insecurities of millennials." - Karan Mahajan, author of The Association of Small Bombs
"A classic love triangle between two tormented college students and God. The Incendiaries brings us, page by page, from quiet reckonings with shame and intimacy to a violent, grand tragedy. In a conflagration of lyrical prose, R. O. Kwon skillfully evokes the inherent extremism of young love." - Tony Tulathimutte, author of Private Citizens
"An impressive, assured debut about the hope for personal and political revolution and all the unexpected ways it flickers out. Kwon has vital things to say about the fraught times we live in." - Jenny Offill, author of Dept. of Speculation