Just before our summer break we read The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner. A book filled with motorcycles, artists, New York and feminism. We’re recommending some other books you can read if you enjoyed The Flamethrowers and will give you some discussion questions that you can use for you own book club!
Rachel Kushner’s debut novel is Telex From Cuba, which was already a big hit when it got published in 2008. Here she also delves into older days, specifically 1958 and the years leading up to Castro’s revolution. The book follows a small group of Americans living in Cuba and shows how their temporary paradise becomes increasingly unsafe with the stirring political tensions in the country.
Who better to capture being a woman in the 1960’s than Joan Didion? In Play It As It Lays, Didion explores a decade before The Flamethrowers in modern America. Set in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and the Mojave Desert, the book shows what it was like to be a woman in a land in crisis.
We’re sticking to New York, but just placing it in an earlier era. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton criticizes the richer society and the difference between sexes. The novel focuses on a young couple’s engagement and the scandalous cousin of the bride. She’s a divorcee, hell-bent of not getting married again. Throwing all convention in the wind, she attracts the eye of her cousin’s fiance and gives the upper class society something to be upset over. Just like The Flamethrowers we have a young woman who tries to defy the expectations of what it means to be a woman in her own age.
Well, these are our recommendations, but we’d love to hear yours. Share them in the comments!
Possible Discussion Questions:
– What is the importance of us not learning Reno’s real name?
– We all think Giddle is the best, but in how far is the the wiser ‘older’ artist compared to Reno? Does she help Reno discover herself and does Reno even really ‘come of age’?
– Why do we shift perspectives to Sandro at the end of the book? And why do we focus on Sandro’s father instead of Sandro for the rest of the book? What do these male perspectives mean for Reno’s story?