The Rider

( 4 )

Overview

A literary sports classic, finally available in the U.S.
Originally published in Holland in 1978, The Rider became an instant cult classic, selling over 100,000 copies. Brilliantly conceived and written at a breakneck pace, it is a loving, imaginative, and, above all, passionate tribute to the art of bicycle road racing.
Not a dry history of the sport, The Rider is beloved as a bicycle odyssey, a literary masterpiece that describes in ...
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The Rider

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Overview

A literary sports classic, finally available in the U.S.
Originally published in Holland in 1978, The Rider became an instant cult classic, selling over 100,000 copies. Brilliantly conceived and written at a breakneck pace, it is a loving, imaginative, and, above all, passionate tribute to the art of bicycle road racing.
Not a dry history of the sport, The Rider is beloved as a bicycle odyssey, a literary masterpiece that describes in painstaking detail one 150-kilometer race in a mere 150 pages. We are, every inch of the way, inside amateur biker Tim Krabbé's head as his mind churns at top speed along with his furious peddling. Privy to his every thought-on the glory and vagaries of the sport itself, the weather, the characters and lineage of his rival cyclists, almost hallucinogenic anecdotes about great riders of the past-the book progresses kilometer by kilometer, thought by thought, and the reader is left breathless and exhilarated.
A thrillingly realistic look at what it is like to compete in a road race, The Rider is the ultimate book for bike lovers as well as the arm-chair sports enthusiast.

Author Biography: Tim Krabbé is one of Holland's leading writers, and his novels are published all over the world. His many books include The Vanishing, which was made into a successful film, and The Cave. He lives in Amsterdam.

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Editorial Reviews

The New Yorker
At the start of this chronicle of a single bike race, the author glances up from his gear to assess the crowd of spectators. "Non-racers," he writes. "The emptiness of those lives shocks me." In immediate, living prose, Krabbé, a novelist as well as a cyclist, takes us with him, inch by inch, as he rides the hundred-and-thirty-seven-kilometre Tour de Mont Aigoual, a course through the mountains that is better known as one of the cruellest stages of the Tour de France. He imagines an official collecting his clothes "after I've died in the race"; recalls a champion cyclist who suffocated to death while climbing one particularly nasty hill; and insists that "being a good loser is a despicable evasion." Along the way, he lays bare the athlete's peculiar mixture of arrogance and terror, viciousness and camaraderie, and the result is one of the more convincing love stories of recent memory.
From the Publisher
"The Rider a beautiful brute, as hard and fast as a thin wheel in a concrete road."—The Observer (UK)

"Its 148 pages will flash by in a blur of reckless, high-speed pleasure."—The Independent (UK)

"The Rider is a great read—a great ride. Krabbé's half-day race, delivered kilometer by kilometer onto the page, shows the sport for what it is: painful, exhilarating, tactical, relational, fast, slow, dangerous, consuming, prone to mechanical failure, heroic, futile. The race—and the book about the race—becomes a raining and cold history of the rider's life. But to say that the race is the metaphor for the life is to miss the point. The race is everything. It obliterates whatever isn't racing. Life is the metaphor for the race."—Donald Antrim

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781582342900
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 5/14/2003
  • Edition description: First Paperback Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 186,388
  • Product dimensions: 5.32 (w) x 7.89 (h) x 0.44 (d)

Meet the Author

Tim Krabbé is one of Holland's leading writers. His many books include The Vanishing and The Cave, both of which were made into films. He lives in Amsterdam.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 18, 2011

    Any serious rider will appreciate this book

    I really enjoyed this book. It's an easy read, I read it in 3 sittings. It's a great account of a difficult bicycle road race in France. The style is a narrative of the race kilo by kilo interspersed with anecdotes about famous pro racers from the past, as well as fantastical musings about the riders mental state. I suspect some of the anecdotes are true and some made up. I suspect the story made up...no matter.

    PS The overview associated with this book is clearly an error, it has nothing to do with the story of this book.

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  • Posted June 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    More fun than intervals

    I absolutely love this book. Most of the reviews concentrate on the story, which is actually pretty basic and certainly not the reason to read this book. The Rider, plain and simple, is literature, that just happens to be about a bike race. It reminds me of Flaubert or Kafka; every word measured and chosen as if it cost a fortune. I'm not into romance novels, but Madame Bovary transcends plot with its sheer, sparse beauty. The Rider does the same, although I'll admit that a love for biking undoubtedly adds to the experience.

    I wish I read Dutch to compare, but Garrett's translation is amazing. Anyone who rides will enjoy this book. Anyone who enjoys great literature will surely enjoy it too.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2006

    Great Book, If You're a Cyclist

    I always find that half of the enjoyment that I get from reading any book is being able to get lost in it's twists and turns. This book allowed me that pleasure. However, I'm an advid cyclist, have raced locally, and could easily identify with and relate to much of what took place in the book. The authors viewpoints, obsessions, fears, and other scenarios seem to speak directly to my cycling frame of reference. This is not a sports/cycling book. Rather, it is a book about a character engaged in sports/cycling. The author does a great job of maintaining a distiction. Yet, almost all of the activity takes place while the character is on his bike. The best way to describe this book is: A journey into the mind of a highly competitive cyclist as he goes through the process of training and racing. I thoroghly enjoyed it, but wonder if someone who did not have interest in cycling would miss the many nuances contained within, or simply not be able to identify with the author's perspective. However, if you're a cycling fan or a fan of individual sports, you should be able to relate.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2004

    Life is the metaphor for the race

    You needn't be a racer, nor for that matter a cyclist, to revel in this gem of a book: The exhiliration - 'I was in the lead group for one sweep of the cranks, then ... the blind wall of wind was there again for me alone. 'What kind of nonsense is this ?' I thought, then the lights went out.' The profoundness - 'Nothing is better for a firm and solid faith than being in the wrong.' And the humor - 'You can tell good riders by their faces, bad riders by their faces too - but that only goes for riders you already know.' What I can't figure out is why it took over 20 years for this European classic to finally get translated into English.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews

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