Aug 4, 2019 - Aug 4, 2019 | 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
City of Asylum
40 W. North Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
A powerful, darkly glittering novel about violence, love, faith, and loss, as a young Korean American woman at an elite American university is drawn into acts of domestic terrorism by a cult tied to North Korea.
Phoebe Lin and Will Kendall meet their first month at prestigious Edwards University. Phoebe is a glamorous girl who doesn’t tell anyone she blames herself for her mother’s recent death. Will is a misfit scholarship boy who transfers to Edwards from Bible college, waiting tables to get by. What he knows for sure is that he loves Phoebe.
Grieving and guilt-ridden, Phoebe is increasingly drawn into a religious group—a secretive extremist cult—founded by a charismatic former student, John Leal. He has an enigmatic past that involves North Korea and Phoebe’s Korean American family. Meanwhile, Will struggles to confront the fundamentalism he’s tried to escape, and the obsession consuming the one he loves. When the group bombs several buildings in the name of faith, killing five people, Phoebe disappears. Will devotes himself to finding her, tilting into obsession himself, seeking answers to what happened to Phoebe and if she could have been responsible for this violent act.
The Incendiaries is a fractured love story and a brilliant examination of the minds of extremist terrorists, and of what can happen to people who lose what they love most.
R.O. Kwon’s nationally bestselling first novel, The Incendiaries, is published by Riverhead, and it is being translated into five languages. Named a best book of the year by over forty publications, it is an American Booksellers Association Indie Next #1 Pick and an Indies Introduce selection. The Incendiaries was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Award for Best First Book, Los Angeles Times First Book Prize, and Northern California Independent Booksellers Association Fiction Prize. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Paris Review, BuzzFeed, NPR, and elsewhere.
Anjali Sachdeva’s short story collection, All the Names They Used for God, was named a Best Book of 2018 by NPR, Refinery 29, and BookRiot, longlisted for the Story Prize, and chosen as the 2018 Fiction Book of the Year by the Reading Women podcast. The New York Times Book Review called the collection “strange and wonderful,” and Roxane Gay called it, “One of the best collections I’ve ever read. Every single story is a stand out.” Sachdeva is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has taught writing at the University of Iowa, Augustana College, and Carnegie Mellon University. She also worked for six years at the Creative Nonfiction Foundation, where she was Director of Educational Programs. She currently teaches at the University of Pittsburgh and in the MFA program at Randolph College. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA.
Praise for The Incendiaries:
“The most buzzed-about debut of the summer, as it should be…unusual and enticing…The Incendiaries arrives at precisely the right moment.”—The Washington Post
“A startlingly assured book by an important new writer.”—The Guardian
“Religion, politics, and love collide in this slim but powerful novel reminiscent of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, with menace and mystery lurking in every corner.”—People Magazine