Chris Cleave Incendiary.
Knopf, 256 pages, $22.95

On July 7, the day the tube bombings killed fifty-six people, British booksellers released Chris Cleave’s Incendiary, a novel about a catastrophic suicide attack on Arsenal’s new stadium in north London. (It begins: “Dear Osama they want you dead or alive so the terror will stop.”) Cleave told the Guardian that the timing was “macabre,” the Telegraph that it was a “sorrowful coincidence,” and the readers of his website that “the response of Marie Fatayi-Williams to the loss of her son on 7th July is more important than anything I have written.”

Stateside, we call this damage control. Cleave’s narrator, a young working-class girl, might call it a load of bollocks. On 7/7, the refrain was London Can Take It. Are we now to believe that London can take bombs but not...

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