The Flamethrowers, by Rachel Kushner.
Set primarily in New York City during the mid 1970s and focused on the art scene, The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner centers around the life of a young woman, Reno.
Reno is an artist, and also a lover of motorcycles. She incorporates the physical and psychological realm(s) of speed as a palette for her artistic expression. Reno goes to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, where she sets the woman’s land speed record. The story moves effortlessly to a Soho dinner party and then zig zags to Northern Italy, where Reno gets caught up in the political turmoil of the times, and finds herself running from the police as a suspected member of the Red Brigade.
Each of the cast of characters is complex and truly unimaginable, yet the twists and turns of relationships, personal and professional, are literally “dead on.” You know these people! Kushner’s writing is exceptional.
I wish the ending had been tied up a little tighter, but perhaps the openness of the end of the story reflects the uncertainty of one’s life. Altogether a fabulous read and highly recommended.