On Religion, Feminism, and writing Korean-American Characters: An Interview with R. O. Kwon

In her powerful debut novel The Incendiaries, R.O. Kwon explores the grief that comes with losing religious faith, abortion center bombings, cults, and first love through startlingly inventive prose. Phoebe Lin and Will Kendall are college students in love when John Leal, an elusive and charming religious fanatic, enters their lives. As John draws Phoebe into his cult, her relationship with Will begins to fray. Instead of telling this story in chronological order, The Incendiaries shifts the reader’s expectations by opening with an act of violence committed by the cult. As Will tries to retrace Phoebe and John’s steps, the reader joins him, confronting questions about god, terrorism, faith, and how well one can know another person along the way.
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