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Saturday, 28 March 2009
Old Man On A Bike
by Simon Gandolfi
Mr Gandolfi has had ten other books published and the reason for his success was obvious to me before I had finished giggling my way through the prologue of Old Man on a Bike.
With his remarkable insight and searing self awareness, Mr Gandolfi reminded me, time and time again, of my grampie Kirkby. Once the patriarch of our family, always my hero, a man who died having forgotten more than I am likely ever to be able to learn.
This book is singularly unique in that it draws the reader inside an older person's mind. I found it an enriching, often comforting and pleasant place to be.
The writing style in Old Man on a Bike is mature and mischievous, gritty, factual and witty. The book is filled with concise, clipped sentences of professional brevity:
'Although travelling, I am on familiar territory. We are always on familiar territory, all of us. Yet we divide ourselves from this reality by erecting fake barriers and boundaries of nationality and race and religion.'
'They infuse their finds in hot water and insist I bath the burns. They are small commanding women. They cook, clean and do the laundry. Disobedience would be foolish.'
'For the past few days I have been pursued by a middle-aged hen. Today the hen slinks into my room while Nora collects my laundry. I discover the hen on my bed. She has laid an egg.'
The book also regularly offers flowing paragraphs of perfect descriptive indulgence. I savoured every word.
I read the last page of this book with a smile on my face and a sense of regret that I had reached the end of this enthralling paperback.
Simon’s blog url is: http://simongandolfi.blogspot.com/
Reviewed by DJ Kirkby