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R.O. Kwon Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Publication Order of Anthologies

Kink(2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
I Know What’s Best for You: Stories on Reproductive Freedom(2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Born in South Korea, author R.O Kwon has spent most of her teenage and adult life in the United States. A promising author, Kwon’s first novel, titled the Incendiaries, will officially be released by Riverhead publishers, on July 2018. Numerous leading news and media outlets such as the Guardian,Buzzfeed, Playboy, Electric Literature and San Francisco literature have featured some of her works. Apart from being a promising author, R.O Kwon is also the recipient of numerous awards such as MacDowell Award, Omi International Award, Sewanee Writers Award, Norman Mailer’s Writers Award and Bread Loaf Writers Award. After completing her high school education, R.O Kwon joined a local college, where she studied Cognitive Science. Ever since she was young, R.O Kwon had always wanted to be an astronaut. However, while growing up, she changed her dreams, and thus wanted to become a physicist. To achieve her dream, Kwon ended up taking physical science classes. Later on, she discovered cognitive science, which at the moment was asking the questions that she was fully interested in.

Ever since Kwon was young, she was always fascinated with writing and reading. Due to Kwon’s exceptional writing skills, NEA tried to contact R.O Kwon via phone call. However, they were unable to reach her mainly because of R.O Kwon’s inability to hear her phone ring.Several days later, they tried contacting her vial email and this time around they were successful. In the email, NEA informed R.O Kwon that she was not answering her phone call and also that they needed as specific time when they could contact her via email. On the night that she received the email, R.O Kwon could not sleep, mainly because she was afraid and she was also hoping that it was good news. However, as it later turned out, NEA had great news for her. R.O Kwon received a literature grant from NEA. According to R.O Kwon the literature grant gives her more time to write as well as the confidence that she need to complete her books. Apart from being a grant receiver, R.O Kwon is also the recipient of several scholarships from Sewanee Writers Conference and the Bread Loaf conference.

Whenever R.O Kwon gets stuck while writing, she listens to music or reads different types of literature, which she believes will help her answer these questions. Apart from writing, R.O Kwon is also a freelance editor. While working as a freelance editor, R.O Kwon has had the chance of working with professionals from other fields, many of whom wanted to give a try at writing a novel. Many of these clients really enjoyed working on their novel and surprisingly enough were not egotistical. According to R.O Kwon editing, provides her life with the balance that it truly needs.

The Incendiaries

Faith, gaining it and then losing it, is author RO Kwon’s main concern in her debut novel. As the novel begins, the readers get to know that something bad had just happened. From this point onwards, the readers will go through the narrative with a sense of dread. There are instances, when the accuracy of a feeling will hit the readers right in their guts. Will, one of the main characters in the Incendiaries, is still coming into terms with his loss of faith. When we meet with Will, he is busy searching for something to fill the void, where God existed at one point. Every reader will get something from Will’s story, considering he understands belief and faith. Moreover, he also has a deep understanding of power. However, there are several ways that he is yet to understand, belief, faith and power. Will has also passed the point where he can be able to justify faith, even if he can be able to remember it distinctively. This kind of portrayal of complex emotions is what makes the Incendiaries a masterpiece. Apart from Will, author Kwon introduces the readers to Phoebe, a girl that Will will fall in love with. Will and Phoebe attend the prestigious Edwards University together.

Both these two characters have their own secrets, which fill the corners of their minds. As Will continues to become obsessed with Phoebe, the more she begins to fill the void in Will’s heart. Author Kwon presents the readers with a narrative where a man becomes obsessed with a woman, while trying to understand her. However, despite all the efforts that the man makes to understand the woman, she still remains unknowable. The Incendiaries is full of numerous gender dynamics of tropes that will disturb the readers. Author Kwon clearly understands this, and thus uses this trope to answer her questions about faith, in a manner that is much more interesting than how the trope normally is. Phoebe, ends up becoming a member of a secret sect known as Jejah. Will’s inability to completely understand Phoebe has nothing to do with her race or gender but rather about their differences when it comes to faith. Will tries to fully understand her belief and also what the belief means to Phoebe.

However, Phoebe is an enigma. Several portions from the book, which appear to be from Phoebe’s point of view are actually from Will’s point of view as he tries to imagine how she sees life. Overall, the Incendiaries is a highly interesting narrative, one that will be quite hard for many readers. Author Kwon has an outstanding command over her badly damaged characters. While what they were doing to each other was quite objectionable, the readers will truly feel that they truly understand them. The extremely complicated dynamics between Will and Phoebe is one of the main reasons why the readers will read this book, all the way to the last page. Moreover, it is extremely interesting to get the entire narrative from someone who has struggled with faith for the most part of his life and the struggle loving someone who has selected the wrong place to bury their demons.

Author Kwon has also done an excellent job of presenting the readers with a narrative, filled with numerous relatable and important themes. With that said, author Kwon brilliantly explores the differing levels of loss and also how the loss can drive two people who are incompatible together, and in the process creating an illusion of love.

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