Angry, funny, controversial and unpredictable, "Incendiary" will be one of the most talked-about books of 2005. Not since Alex Garland's "The Beach" has a debut novel used such compulsive storytelling to convey a distopian vision of moral degradation. Not since Roddy Doyle's "The Woman Who Walked Into Doors" has a male writer created such a powerful female voice. From her first sentence, Cleave's narrator seduces the reader with her biting, deadpan wit, her no-nonsense attitude and her love for her son. Over the next 250 pages, we must watch her suffer. Eleven suicide bombers turn the stadium into an inferno during an Arsenal-Chelsea match. Her husband and four-year-old son are blown to smithereens. She is left with an empty ex-Council flat in Bethnal Green and nothing to live for. And so she writes Osama Bin Laden a letter to tell him just what she thinks, a letter that takes the reader into a frightening maze of class-bound relationships - and right to the dark heart of a London under siege. A unique, twisted powerhouse of a novel, "Incendiary" has had readers staying up all night to finish it, then up half the next night arguing about it. Not since Martin Amis has a writer pinned a generation down on a mat like this and refused to allow it up till it admits it's rotten.
Chris Cleave's debut novel INCENDIARY was a prize-winner and international bestseller, published in 20 countries.
Inspired by his early childhood in West Africa, THE OTHER HAND is his second novel. He is married with two children, and lives in Kingston-upon-Thames. He keeps a website at www.chriscleave.com and can be found on twitter.com/chriscleave.