The Cyclist by Viken Berberian
A Novel

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Synopsis

The Cyclist is a stunningly original novel about food and political violence. It's a psychological ride into the tropics of terror, to the edges of our national and existential borders: the ones set at birth, the ones we are born into.
The enigmatic narrator is a young trainee of the Academy, a terrorist group in the present-day Middle East. This unnamed, transnational pawn has a single mission: to deliver a bomb by bicycle to a hotel, where it will explode, killing hundreds of civilians. But his story is anything but simple.
Combining surrealism, tragedy and humor, The Cyclist is a journey into the unsettling workings of the terrorist mind. Even as the narrator ponders his mission, only his musings about food and love reveal clues to his nationality and his agenda. But can such a zestful connoisseur also be a true agent of political violence?
Witty and wildly inventive, The Cyclist is a remarkable debut from a gifted novelist.
 

About Viken Berberian

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Viken Berberian is a novelist and author of The Cyclist. He has written for The New York Times, the Financial Times and the Los Angeles Times. For the past five years he has lived and worked in Manhattan, Paris and Marseille.
 
Published March 19, 2002 by Simon & Schuster. 192 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Cyclist

Kirkus Reviews

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The plan under which he will be cycling, a plot dreamed up by terrorists who call themselves The Attorneys, calls for him to drop back and eventually drop out of the race, steering up to the Summerland, a big resort hotel, where he will deliver “the baby” for detonation to a fuse-equipped coconsp...

Mar 06 2002 | Read Full Review of The Cyclist: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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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.

Jan 07 2002 | Read Full Review of The Cyclist: A Novel

BC Books

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He does briefly acknowledge that it takes a great deal of mental training for one to be able to complete a mission such as his, but that is as close as the novel comes to conveying any sense that he might be concerned for the people he’ll harm.

Jan 18 2007 | Read Full Review of The Cyclist: A Novel

Book Reporter

For the cyclist, food represents health, safety, and happiness;

Jan 21 2011 | Read Full Review of The Cyclist: A Novel

Entertainment Weekly

Nameless, nationless, and perpetually famished, the narrator of Berberian's robustly flavorful first novel spends most of his time musing over ''a world where some make war, others omelets'' -- even as he prepares to deliver a bomb by bicycle to a Beirut hotel.

Mar 15 2002 | Read Full Review of The Cyclist: A Novel

Reader Rating for The Cyclist
80%

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