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The invisible mile / David Coventry.

By: Coventry, David, 1969- [author.].
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: Wellington : Victoria University Press, 2015Copyright date: ©2015Description: 319 pages ; 21 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9781776560431; 9781776560431; 1776560434; 9781509822942 (pbk.).Subject(s): Tour de France (Bicycle race) -- Fiction | Cycling -- Fiction | World War, 1914-1918 -- Veterans -- FictionGenre/Form: New Zealand fiction -- 21st century. | Historical fiction.DDC classification: NZ823.3
Contents:
The Invisible Mile is a powerful re-imagining of the 1928 Tour de France from inside the peloton, where the test of endurance, for one young New Zealander, becomes a psychological journey into the chaos of the War a decade earlier.
Awards: Ockham New Zealand Book Awards : The Hubert Church Best First Book Award for Fiction Winner, 2016.Summary: "The 1928 Ravat-Wonder team from New Zealand and Australia were the first English-speaking team to ride the Tour de France. From June through July they faced one of toughest in the race’s history: 5,476 kilometres of unsealed roads on heavy, fixed-wheel bikes. They rode in darkness through mountains with no light and brakes like glass. They weren’t expected to finish, but stadiums filled with Frenchmen eager to call their names. The Invisible Mile is a powerful re-imagining of the tour from inside the peloton, where the test of endurance, for one young New Zealander, becomes a psychological journey into the chaos of the War a decade earlier. Riding on the alternating highs of cocaine and opium, victory and defeat, the rider’s mind is increasingly fixed on his encounter with his family’s past. As he nears the battlefields of the north and his last, invisible mile, the trauma of exertion and disputed guilt cast strange shadows on his story, and onlookers congregate about him waiting for revelation."--Publisher's website.
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

The 1928 Ravat-Wonder team from New Zealand and Australia were the first English-speaking team to ride the Tour de France. From June through July they faced one of toughest in the race's history: 5, 476 kilometres of unsealed roads on heavy, fixed-wheel bikes. They rode in darkness through mountains with no light and brakes like glass. They weren't expected to finish, but stadiums filled with Frenchmen eager to call their names. The Invisible Mile is a powerful re-imagining of the tour from inside the peloton, where the test of endurance, for one young New Zealander, becomes a psychological journey into the chaos of the War a decade earlier. Riding on the alternating highs of cocaine and opium, victory and defeat, the rider's mind is increasingly fixed on his encounter with his family's past. As he nears the battlefields of the north and his last, invisible mile, the trauma of exertion and disputed guilt cast strange shadows on his story, and onlookers congregate about him waiting for revelation.

New Zealand author.

Novel.

The Invisible Mile is a powerful re-imagining of the 1928 Tour de France from inside the peloton, where the test of endurance, for one young New Zealander, becomes a psychological journey into the chaos of the War a decade earlier.

"The 1928 Ravat-Wonder team from New Zealand and Australia were the first English-speaking team to ride the Tour de France. From June through July they faced one of toughest in the race’s history: 5,476 kilometres of unsealed roads on heavy, fixed-wheel bikes. They rode in darkness through mountains with no light and brakes like glass. They weren’t expected to finish, but stadiums filled with Frenchmen eager to call their names. The Invisible Mile is a powerful re-imagining of the tour from inside the peloton, where the test of endurance, for one young New Zealander, becomes a psychological journey into the chaos of the War a decade earlier. Riding on the alternating highs of cocaine and opium, victory and defeat, the rider’s mind is increasingly fixed on his encounter with his family’s past. As he nears the battlefields of the north and his last, invisible mile, the trauma of exertion and disputed guilt cast strange shadows on his story, and onlookers congregate about him waiting for revelation."--Publisher's website.

NZBookAwards2016

Reads2015

Ockham New Zealand Book Awards : The Hubert Church Best First Book Award for Fiction Winner, 2016.

Ockham New Zealand Book Awards 2016: Fiction - Shortlist (Formerly the New Zealand Post Book Awards)

Ockham New Zealand Book Awards 2016 (Formerly the New Zealand Post Book Awards) Winner - THE HUBERT CHURCH BEST FIRST BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION

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Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

This first novel tells the story of the Australian and New Zealander riders who took part in the 1928 Tour de France. One member of that team is the first-person, present-tense narrator, who also has a personal tale to tell, gradually divulged over the course of the story, about his World War I veteran brother and deceased sister. The remains of the war and memories of it hover over the story, as the riders complete superhuman rides, stoked on drugs of all sorts. The narrator is supposed to meet his long-lost cousin from England during the race, but she never shows and he instead becomes involved with a woman named Celia who is following the event, supplying drugs, and at times seems to become his cousin. The competition, which is based on actual events, takes its toll, as many drop out, some die, and those who are left carry on toward the end. VERDICT Related in a hypersensitive stream of consciousness, with fragmentary dialogs often between two people who don't speak the same language, this novel is compelling but slowly paced and oblique and may lose a few readers along its difficult course.-James Coan, SUNY at Oneonta Lib. © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Review

Based on a true event, New Zealand author Coventry's tense, dark debut novel is a powerful story of grim determination and one man's forlorn hope to conquer fear and pain in the world's most grueling bicycle race, the Tour de France. The unnamed narrator is an anonymous member of the 1928 Australian-New Zealand Ravat-Wonder cycling team, the first English-speaking peloton to race in the Tour de France. They are foreigners in a foreign land, facing 5,476 km of bad roads, mountains, cold, heat, illness, and injury. The narrator is 27 years old, a young man adrift amidst the ghosts of post-World War I Europe, questioning his purpose and abilities, searching but never finding any answers. Like his teammates, he is driven to compete, knowing he cannot win, just hoping to finish the race's last invisible mile. His voice is thoughtful and introspective as he tells of his doubts and fears, forcing his mind and body to endure extreme fatigue, hunger, thirst, sickness, and injury. Celia, a race fan who follows the race in a car and befriends the cyclist, is just as adrift as he is. Best are Coventry's vivid descriptions of cycling team tactics, the drugs and alcohol, the excitement of the watching crowds, and the bloody accidents and crashes-of the 162 cyclists that began the race, only 42 finished. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Book Review

In 1928, a team of bicyclists from Australia and New Zealand were the first Anglophones to win the Tour de France.This debut novel from New Zealand author Coventry, a bestseller when published there two years ago, is the story of one of the riders on that team. But it's less a tale of sports heroics than a psychological study of one tormented sportsman. The unnamed narrator pushes himself to the physical and psychological limit during the 5,476 kilometer race. By day he pedals, survives a few crackups, narrowly misses riding off a cliff, and barely registers intense leg pains. By night he floats rather passively through a sexual affair with Celia, who appears to be a cycling groupie. The narrative is free-associative and light on dialogue and gets less linear when the protagonist indulges in drugs, including opium and cocaine. Recurring through it all are his flashbacks to two family tragedies 10 years earlier: his brother came home shell-shocked from World War I, and his beloved sister, Marya, died under mysterious circumstances. The story is ultimately less about his competition in the race than his struggles to work through the family trauma. Like the race itself, the narrative has a few dead stretches and can be a bit of a slog; even the climactic sections need to be read over a few times to be understood. Some readers may be entranced by the poetry, but others will find this a slow-moving novel about a fast-moving sport. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.