Rachel Kushner in conversation with Natasha Boas
Thursday, February 27, 2014, 7:00 p.m., City Lights Bookstore. 261 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco

City Lights in conjunction with The Believer


Rachel Kushner in conversation with Natasha Boas

celebrating the paperback release of

The Flamethrowers

published by Scribner

Named a Best Book of 2013 by The New York Times; Vogue; O, The Oprah Magazine; Time; Bookish; New York magazine; The New Yorker; Slate; Flavorwire; Publishers Weekly; Kirkus Reviews; Salon; and Complex.

Rachel Kushner's The Flamethrowers, a finalist for the National Book Award, was just named a Top Ten Book of 2013 by The New York Times Book Review and one of Time magazine's top ten fiction books. Kushner's first novel, Telex from Cuba, was also a finalist for a National Book Award and was reviewed on the cover of The New York Times Book Review. The Flamethrowers, even more ambitious and brilliant, is the riveting story of a young artist and the worlds she encounters in New York and Rome in the mid-1970s—by turns underground, elite, and dangerous. It is an intensely engaging exploration of the mystique of the feminine, the fake, the terrorist. At its center is Kushner's brilliantly realized protagonist, a young woman on the verge. Thrilling and fearless, this is a major American novel from a writer of spectacular talent and imagination.

Rachel Kushner's new novel, The Flamethrowers, was nominated for a National Book Award, chosen as one of the Ten Best Books of the Year by the New York Times, and was on almost every Best Book list of 2013. Her debut novel, Telex from Cuba, was also a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, winner of the California Book Award, and a New York Times bestseller and Notable Book. Kushner's fiction and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Paris Review, The Believer, Artforum, and Bookforum. She is a 2013 Guggenheim Fellow. Visit : rachelkushner.com/

Natasha Boas is a French-American SF-native curator, critic and professor of contemporary art and theory. She has been curating contemporary art internationally for 25 years. Her most recent show at San Francisco Art Institute / Walter & McBean Galleries  'ENERGY THAT IS ALL AROUND: Mission School with Chris Johanson, Margaret Kilgallen , Alicia McCarthy, Barry McGee and Ruby Neri explores the early 90s Mission neighborhood subculture art movement and will open in New York in April at Grey Art Gallery, NYU. Natasha Boas is a regular contributor to The Believer, Art Practical and SF Arts Quarterly and lectures at the San Francisco Art Institute and the California College of Art.

What has been said about The Flamethrowers:

"Kushner is rapidly emerging as a thrilling and prodigious novelist."

- Jonathan Franzen, author of Freedom

"The Flamethrowers lives up to its incendiary title—it is a brilliant, startling, truly revolutionary book about the New York art world of the seventies, Italian class warfare, and youth's blind acceleration into the unknown. Kushner is a genius prose stylist, and her Reno is one of the most fully realized protagonists I've ever encountered, moving fluidly from the fringe of the fringe movement to the center of the action. I want to recommend this stunning book to everyone I know."

- Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia

"Oscillating between the hedonistic New York artworld and Italy in the midst of the Years of Lead, The Flamethrowers is that rare thing, a novel that uses recent history not as a picturesque backdrop, but as a way of interrogating the present. Kushner's urgent prose and psychological acuity make this one of the most compelling and enjoyable novels I’ve read this year."

- Hari Kunzru, author of Gods Without Men

"The controlled intensity and perception in Rachel Kushner's novels mark her as one of the most brilliant writers of the oncoming century. She's going to be one we turn to for our serious pleasures and for the insight and wisdom we'll be needing in hard times to come. Rachel Kushner is a novelist of the very first order. The Flamethrowers follows Telex from Cuba as a masterful work."

- Robert Stone

"This rich second novel from Kushner takes place in late-'70s New York City and Italy…Kushner’s psychological explorations of her characters are incisive, the novel is peppered with subtle '70s details, and it bursts with you-are-there depictions of its time and places." -

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Rachel Kushner writes dazzling, sexy, glorious prose. She is as brilliant on men and motorcycles as she is on art and film. The Flamethrowers is an ambitious and powerful novel."

- Dana Spiotta, author of Stone Arabia and Eat the Document

Books related to this event:

Product image
The Flamethrowers
A Novel
Rachel Kushner
2014 Edition
Kushner's writing is authoritative and vivid, as exciting to read as the worlds she writes about. I could not put this down; it was intoxicating reading about a young woman making her way in worlds in which women don't usually get to exist, even in fiction. A cinematic, unstoppable, alienated and kick-fueled adventure.