I can say without hesitation that The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner was the best novel I read this year. It’s one of those rare modern novels, similar to Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections, Don DeLillo’s Underworld or Jennifer Egan’s A Visit From the Goon Squad, where the writing is so brilliant that every page is exciting regardless of where you are in the plot. It doesn’t hurt that she fills the book with stories of post-World War 2 Italy, the New York art scene in the 70’s and a vibrant and perfectly drawn cast of characters that are all inherently interesting. Her writing is incredibly insightful and highly literary while remaining engaging with both feet planted firmly on the ground. It’s more concerned with people than ideas, although there are plenty of those to parse through if you’re willing to dig deeper. This should be required reading for anyone considering writing fiction. It gets my highest recommendation and I’m already looking forward to reading it again.