Compared by Danzy Senna to "the young Philip Roth" for her "lashing, dark humor tinged with deep melancholy," Porochista Khakpour is one of her generation's most outrageously gifted new talents. Sons and Other Flammable Objects is at once a comedy and a tragedy, a family history, and a modern coming-of-age story with a distinctly timeless resonance.
Growing up, Xerxes Adam is painfully aware that he is different, with an understanding of his Iranian heritage that vacillates from typical teenage embarrassment to something so tragic it can barely be spoken. His father, Darius, obsesses over his sense of exile, and fantasizes about a nonexistent daughter he can relate to better than his living son; Xerxes' mother changes her name and tries to make friends; but neither of them can help their son make sense of the terrifying, violent last moments in a homeland he barely remembers. As he grows into manhood and moves to New York, his major goal in life is to completely separate from his parents, but when he meets a beautiful half-Iranian girl on the roof of his building after New York's own terrifying and violent catastrophe strikes, it seems Iran will not let Xerxes go.