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Paul Fattaruso, Bicycle

A few quick words about Bicycle, the "novella" by Paul Fattaruso which I read a few weeks ago. My brevity isn't due to any lack of appreciation for the book - in fact, I liked it quite a bit - but because its structure makes a formal critique somewhat difficult. Although billed as a novella, the book is a collection of 77 micro-fiction pieces, none more than one or two sentences each, on the subject of bicycles. Although consistent in tone, the pieces don't follow any particular narrative thread, instead presenting various impressions of bicycles - and especially the narrator/rider - which I found charming, whimsical (especially when bicycles are imagined as living, breathing creatures), often beautiful and thoroughly enjoyable overall.

With pieces this brief and concise, it's easier to just let Fattaruso's words speak for themselves, so I'll do so and pass along a few of my favorites:

Twice a year the air carries that faint whir of migrating bicycles.

Consider the bicycle of paradise, its meerschaum frame, its wheels of feathers.

The carpenter lingers in his workshop long after sundown, working on his bicycle. Even the bell is wooden, crafted from old apple wood, and warm to the touch.

When there is no moon, I ride by instinct, the instinct that quivers in my elbows.

I adjust my tie, straighten my lapels. Today I will ride by bicycle down the great spiral staircase.

I'm not completely sure what Fattaruso is saying here, but I'm very glad I was able to listen in. Bicycle is another winner from Hotel St. George Press, the offbeat imprint of Akashic Books.

June 24, 2008 in Books | Permalink