"As a woman commits adultery on her living room sofa, the Arsenal-Chelsea football match on the television in front of her suddenly explodes into a ball of flames... Her husband and son are amongst those killed in this horrific terrorist attack, which changes both her and London forever."
Incendiary by Chris Cleave completes my trio of top books for 2009.
As a man writing from a woman's voice he doesn't always get it right (we don't even understand ourselves half the time so how can we expect a bloke to?) but the narrator's voice is what swept me through this book in one sitting. It's not a long book - perfect for a cold and rainy day with a glass of red.
Eerily Incendiary, which reads as a letter to Osama Bin Laden about the impact a terrorist attack had on innocent people, was published on 7 July 2005...the day of the London bombings.
How would I describe it? A satirical look at an indulgent society; loaded with black humour as well as tenderness; bleak with a mother's suffering through guilt, devastation, loss; relentless action and an eloquent portrayal of simple lives.
Guys don't let the female perspective put you off, there's plenty of testosterone in the mix, trust me. If he read books, my brother T would say 'it's bloody good!'
So there it is - my three best books of the year:
The Lives of Beryl Markham, The Elegance of the Hedgehog and Incendiary.
They're all pretty different but that's what I love about them. What are your top picks?