There are books that are completely different novels if you read them at different ages. Books about nostalgia, and looking back. Books about drowning in the ignorance and naivete of youth. Books about learning and discovering.
It’s hard to read those kinds of books when you actually are young. Very young. “The Flamethrowers” is about being young, about discovering, about entering a particular world and negotiating it. It’s about the simple tasks of being alive, loving, and seeking acceptance.
Reading this book as a twentysomething, it’s a book about observation. That’s what my entire generation goes through. The strange landscape of desire, shame, embarassment, fear, loss, rejection, confusion, ennui. That’s probably what every generation goes through, and thinks they’re the first.
Reading The Flamethrowers feels easy. It feels both deceptively simple and complicated.
It feels familiar.