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The Cyclist: A Novel

Berberian, Viken

ISBN 10: 0743222830 / ISBN 13: 9780743222839
Published by Simon & Schuster, 2002
Used Condition: Fine Hardcover
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0743222830 Author's first book. Dj blurb by Eric Bogosian. Bookseller Inventory # 006629

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Cyclist: A Novel

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication Date: 2002

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: First Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

The cryptic narrator of The Cyclist is a young trainee of the Academy, a terrorist group head-quartered somewhere in the present-day Middle East. Combining surrealism, tragedy, terror, and humor, the story explores the workings of the terrorist mind.

Review:

In his debut novel, Viken Berberian offers a rich and vital portrayal of a prospective Middle Eastern terrorist. The Cyclist explores the background and motivations of its unnamed narrator, a Lebanese terrorist-in-training given the task of detonating a bomb (delivered on his bicycle) at a luxury hotel outside of Beirut. Much of the novel's first half takes place in a hospital, wherein the narrator, seriously injured after a collision on his bicycle, shares details of his past and ruminates on his extreme political sentiments and love of food and bicycling. As the day of his planned sacrifice draws near, new obligations arise and he gradually realizes the possible ramifications of his proposed retaliatory strike. Berberian skillfully constructs a humanizing account of a man who is a witness to acts of cruelty, who is driven by fear, anger, and hope of retribution.

In recognizing the cyclical nature of Middle Eastern conflict, the novel suggests the courage required of those similarly victimized to resist fatalism and act nonviolently in support of peace. Berberian displays sensitivity toward--and insight into--a difficult subject, and his evocative, detailed descriptions enliven this often maligned and misapprehended region. The novel's vibrant metaphors and similes associate typically contrasting elements, illustrating the complexity of life in an area where the relative frequency of bloodshed colors and politicizes every aspect of it. Berberian's perceptive and unconventional eye adds dimension to a region and a growing ideology in desperate need of understanding, and makes The Cyclist an important as well as enjoyable work. --Ross Doll

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