The Cyclist: A Novel

Berberian, Viken

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

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Synopsis: Suspenseful, humorous, and surreal, a compelling debut novel follows a young trainee of the Academy, a terrorist group headquartered in the Middle East, as he embarks on a mission to deliver a bomb by bicycle to a hotel in Beirut, and along the way, reveals his thoughts on violence, food, and love. 25,000 first printing.

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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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Cyclist: A Novel
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 2002
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Fine
Edition: First Edition

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