Tim Krabbé is one of Holland's leading writers. He is also a cycling (and chess) enthusiast. In The Rider
he has created a book unique in the ranks of sporting literature, and probably elsewhere. Already acclaimed as a cycling classic, this translation from the original Dutch serves not only to evoke the endeavour and exhaustive struggle of road racing, but also inspires as a study into the workings of the human mind, from the context of a racing cyclist. The narrative is driven by an analysis equal parts psychological and philosophical, strategic and surreal. The reader might feel that Krabbé is presenting the race or the rider as a metaphor for life in general, but the author might argue that it is more than that as he brings the ecstasy and the agony of the race, and the descriptions of his fellow competitors, to such a prominent position that all else is somehow of little significance. Perhaps Krabbé's real point is that only the rider can truly understand what makes the feelings engendered by the race so vital. For the rest of us, his description might be the nearest we get. Nevertheless, The Rider
stands as a masterpiece, and alone of its kind. The feelings experienced by the actors of endurance sports have never been so well captured, nor the power and the pain of cycle racing captured in such a cerebral yet compelling manner.--Trevor Crowe
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"The Rider a beautiful brute, as hard and fast as a thin wheel in a concrete road."—The Observer (UK)
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"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