cover image The Cyclist Conspiracy

The Cyclist Conspiracy

Svetislav Basara, trans. from the Serbian by Randall A. Major. Univ. of Rochester/Open Letter, $15.95 trade paper (285p) ISBN 978-1-934824-58-0

In this first English translation of a 1988 Serbian classic, Major’s translation captures the wit and wisdom of one of Serbia’s most acclaimed authors. In the preface, Basara calls himself the “editor” of this anthology of found texts, personal missives, historical archives, tales, poems, lists, memoirs, manifestos, maps, and drawings “dedicated to the secret of the Evangelical Bicyclists of the Rose Cross,” an elusive sect of mystics who gather in their dreams and spend their waking hours smashing timepieces, riding bicycles, and contemplating the velocipede’s form and ability to “contradict gravity.” Theirs is a contrarian society that sees the world afresh, from all sides, and intends to destroy systems of all kinds: philosophical, political, theological, and psychological. Or, as one of the collected scholars notes within its pages, their writings are a “product of a few liars with too much time on their hands.” At once a rich philosophical tome and vision-altering spoof of the same, this “meta-goulash” will interest readers of Jorge Luis Borges’s Labyrinths and Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman. (Mar.)