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Extended Audio Sample Incendiary: A Novel Audiobook, by Chris Cleave Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (5,825 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Chris Cleave Narrator: Tracy-Ann Oberman Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2012 ISBN: 9781442354241
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Chris Cleave’s debut novel Incendiary—winner of the Book-of-the-Month Club’s First Fiction Award and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize—is sure to captivate the same people who made Little Bee one of the most talked-about novels of the last decade.

Written as an open letter to Osama bin Laden from a distraught woman whose husband and son were killed in a massive suicide bombing, Incendiary was published in the UK on July 7, 2005— eerily, the day of the London underground bombings. It went on to win the 2006 Somerset Maugham Award; was shortlisted for the 2006 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize; won the United States’ Book-of-the-Month Club’s First Fiction Award; and won the Prix Special du Jury at the French Prix des Lecteurs 2007. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “An audacious, provocative voice…[Cleave] has a clear and disturbing vision of the psychological effects of an attack on a city population.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • Incendiary suggests that even amid the rubble of a terrorist attack, we can gain a glimpse of hope for a better future, stay open to hidden gifts in one’s life, and perhaps even discover that we are capable of forgiveness of our own fragility and carelessness as well as that of others.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Fiction can be a highly effective way of depicting terror…because fine writing—and Incendiary is a very fine example—is such an eloquent human instrument.”

    Economist

  • “Sensitive, artful, and deft…Cleave’s Orwellian look at the way we live is hyper-realistic, his narrator true to the point where one can almost hear her ragged breathing, smell the gin and tears on her breath…A near-perfect debut that will give the reader nightmares that may seem far too real on waking.”

    Baltimore Sun

  • “Cleave…has a phenomenal talent for melodrama, a dishy, vicious sense of humor, and a sprinter’s force as a writer.”

    New York Observer

  • Winner of the 2006 Somerset Maugham Award
  • Shortlisted for the 2006 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize
  • Selected for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jonelle | 2/18/2014

    " It's hard to know how to classify this book. Written in the form of a letter to Osama Bin Laden, it tells the story of how a British working-class woman who loses her son and husband in a terrorist bombing deals with her grief and the madness of society around her. Typically, someone like that would be portrayed as a saint, but she is a real human being, flaws and all. While the story does have some flashes of humor, in all, it is grief-ridden book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Regan | 1/11/2014

    " A little too all over the place. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Brittany | 12/25/2013

    " Cleave blew me away with his recent novel, Little Bee. I was excited to read the older Incendiary, yet I was deeply disappointed and disgusted. Yes, I finished the entire novel but only because I kept hoping that it was going to turn around and improve. It did not. With a promising beginning, I was immediately intrigued with the heroine of the story writing a letter to Osama Bin Laden blaming him for the deaths of her husband and son in a terrorist attack at a soccer match. However, as it went on, I became less and less thrilled with this woman who was cheating on her husband while he was being killed and then loses her grip on reality and life. This was the biggest sob story I have ever read with the most ridciulous characters and scenarios... I cannot begin to describe, and I won't. All I can do is urge other readers to not even try with this one. I wasted a a couple weeks on this... not because I'm a slow reader but because it was so miserable to read. Cleaves, I was really let down. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Robert Day | 12/14/2013

    " Yeah, terrorism, yeah, good way to approach the subject, yeah, well written. Just not really my cup of tea. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Judy | 12/10/2013

    " It took me a while to get into this book, but I liked it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephen | 12/9/2013

    " A letter to Osama bin Laden, from an East-London mother. Robin Van Persie also makes a cameo showing :) Sparking controversy on the aftermath of terrorism. The movie doesn't do it justice. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sean Gladding | 12/8/2013

    " Raw, first person fictional account of a terrorist attack on London. Read it in two sittings. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Phoebejones4 | 12/1/2013

    " Grave disappointment after loving Little Bee so much. So depressing without much to redeem it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Phyllis | 11/28/2013

    " Page turner in many ways. Main character straight forward lower class woman who speaks her mind! If you like the book - DONT bother with the movie. Thy cut a major character and changed 50% of the plot. Ticked me off! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lee | 9/22/2013

    " Not a good time in my life to have read this book. Depressing, depressing, depressing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laura | 4/27/2013

    " I enjoyed this book, but it just wasn't as good as Little Bee. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sue | 4/19/2013

    " Not as strong as others "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Aggs | 11/28/2012

    " As much as I loved the first hundred and something pages, I hated the end. From the middle of the book, the only interesting character is London itself. The rest is pretty annoying and not really convincing. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Carrie | 10/14/2012

    " Read this after I enjoyed "Little Bee." Maybe because I lived through the 7/7 bombings in London I did not enjoy the subject matter. I also found myself annoyed by the main character. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mandi | 10/6/2012

    " I really enjoyed the author's writing style. It was punchy and fresh. The subject matter was at times hard to handle, and I may never be able to go to a sporting event again without some level of concern. But the read was worth it. I'm looking forward to more from this author. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda Mirvis | 9/5/2012

    " Creative premise and style in that the entire book was written as one long correspondence. Also unusual to never learn the name of the main character/narrator or that of her child who is a major component of the story. Eye-opening political scenario without overly obvious political messages. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Shawna | 7/22/2012

    " Loved his other novel, Little Bee, so I thought I'd check this one out. Not nearly as good. Very strange actually. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 A.T.H. Webber | 7/1/2012

    " Almost documentary at times. A voyeuristic peek at people in horrible circumstances. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristine | 6/26/2012

    " Chris Cleave is a great writer! His books are very deep and not light reads but very, very good! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katie | 4/25/2012

    " I didn't love this one as much as I loved Little Bee - but cleave is an incredible writer and realy worth reading. If you haven't yet, go straight to little bee. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 3/2/2012

    " I kept turning the pages, but couldn't help thinking there was a great political statement to be found. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Briana Moore | 3/1/2012

    " Cleave never disappoints me. As usual, his work is tragic and beautiful. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Ashaserra | 6/25/2011

    " HATED this. Could not wait for it to end. It was one of those things where I started it, so I wanted to finish it, but I DREADED reading it. Such a disappointment after Little Bee. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bethany | 6/25/2011

    " Very compelling and I'm about half way through. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sara | 6/24/2011

    " Not the type of book that I could say, "I LOVED this book" because it was haunting and disturbing...but I do think it was a great book!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kristen | 6/22/2011

    " It takes a little bit to get into the flow of the writing. The main character is writing to Osama bin Laden after a bomb goes off at a soccer game, killing her husband and son. She's from London and has a British accent. A really unusual and interesting story! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Holly | 6/21/2011

    " This is probably one of the most disturbing books I've ever read. Maybe Chris Cleave would consider that a compliment. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jane | 6/19/2011

    " horrible characters in this book, hated them all, finished the book merely because I had paid for it....would not recommend this book and will not buy another by C Cleave "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristi | 6/16/2011

    " I liked this almost as much as Little Bee but in a different way. Cleave does such a nice job with characterization and how we judge characters as readers. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Doris | 6/14/2011

    " This book was almost creepy to read in that it is so realistic in retrospect!! Can't tell you much without giving away the story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lesley | 6/13/2011

    " The movie. A waste of Ewan McGregor, I wish he'd had a larger role. Michelle is always great, but the movie... and Matthew MacFayden wasn't well cast. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carol | 6/6/2011

    " Wow what a book. The voice is incredible, which kept me going through the dark subject matter. I read this book more as a writer, wondering how Chris Cleave manages to keep us so firmly in someone else's head even when we can barely identify with the protagonist. Wow. "

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About the Author
Author Chris CleaveChris Cleave is the author of Everyone Brave is Forgiven, Gold, Incendiary, and the #1 New York Times bestseller Little Bee. He lives with his wife and three children in London, England. Visit him at ChrisCleave.com or on Twitter @ChrisCleave.
About the Narrator

Tracy-Ann Oberman is an actress and also writes a column for the Guardian. She studied drama at Manchester and spent four years at the Royal Shakespeare Company.