The Escape Artist: Life from the Saddle is a poignant and well written book that happens to revolve around a man's obsession with cycling.
The eponymous Escape Artist is the author and his cycle-racing bug.
For those who have never raced - including us - bike racing is an odd, body-wrecking "sport" whose pleasures appear to be few. Pain endurance would seem to be the ultimate goal.
Seaton writes movingly and convincingly of "the rituals of the sport (the loving maintenance of both body and bike, the relentless monitoring of calories, pulse beats and heart rates) and at recreating the adrenaline thrills it provides."
Perhaps indeed the only pleasure of the race is the opportunity to "escape" the pack.
As Seaton becomes more and more entwined in non-cycling events - life - he is forced to choose between staying on the road, in the race, or caring for his ill wife.
This is a gut-wrenching account, which leaves the reader trembling. A truly beautiful work.
‘This book is, above all, about passion and loss. It's about the passion of life at the very edge of athletic and mechanical achievement that is eventually lost to love of a wife and children, which in turn gives way to the loss of the wise and mother herself. I read and relished this book.'
Jon Snow, Guardian
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Tags Japan Touring Kyoto Cycle Japanese