THE CYCLIST

Viken Berberian, Author . Simon & Schuster $21 (192p) ISBN 978-0-7432-2283-9

A terrorist prepares to attack a Beirut hotel in Berberian's first novel, a thinly plotted but stylistically alluring character study that begins with the anonymous narrator laid up in a hospital after being clocked by a Mercedes while riding his bike. As his girlfriend, Ghaemi Basmati, helps nurse him back to health, he ponders the ultimate ride he will soon take to a seaside hotel with a backpack full of plastic explosives. He also recalls his terrorist training at "the Academy," where the attack was referred to as a "baby," terminology that becomes more ironic when the cyclist learns that Basmati is pregnant with his child. Throughout his musings, though, the narrator seems as obsessed with food as he is with the success of his mission, meals and delicacies functioning as both metaphor and sustenance as he flashes back through his life. The final attack takes place during a bicycle race, and while the plan is for the narrator to survive, he imperils both himself and the mission by getting caught up in the race. Berberian is a thoughtful writer, delivering a compelling psychological portrait, one that will probably earn him an audience based on the public's increased interest in terrorism. But the story peters out as Berberian tries to stretch the plot: in many respects the book might have worked better had it been kept to novella length. That quibble aside, there's enough meat on the bones here to leave readers curious about Berberian's future efforts. Agent, Melanie Jackson. (Mar. 6)

Reviewed on: 01/07/2002
Release date: 02/01/2002
Show other formats
FORMATS
Open Ebook - 192 pages - 978-0-7432-2767-4
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-0-7432-4939-3
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.