Monday, August 17, 2015

Riding by Cassia Cassitas

"When he is born, Andre propels his mother's life in a
new direction. His father, an executive who organizes Olympic competitions around the world and doesn't know when to come back home, strives to make him a worldly citizen. Cycling, his life acquires purpose: becoming an Olympic para-athlete."


Synopsis

Amidst real events and landscapes, men and women like us wander the cities we inhabit, rehearsing happier lives in the pages of this motivational narrative. From each one, destiny took a part to make them perfect.

When he is born, Andre propels his mother's life in a new direction. His father, an executive who organizes Olympic competitions around the world and doesn't know when to come back home, strives to make him a worldly citizen. Cycling, his life acquires purpose: becoming an Olympic para-athlete. Together with his friends, he experiences disappointments and new beginnings. A doctor that builds robots, the daughter of a lonely teenager, and a retired athlete teach André how to overcome his limits and live his dream.

Set in Curitiba with breaks in Los Angeles, Seoul, Johannesburg and Soweto, Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, Athens, Beijing and London, the narrative ends in 2012, in Rio de Janeiro. As a tribute to all those who choose to sign the next episodes of their lives, this book is about overcoming one’s self amid achievements, obstacles, love and heroism, written behind the scenes of life.

Review

I have to admit this book surprised me. When I originally chose to read and review this title, it was because my husband and I are avid cyclists and I thought it was a light fiction story about cycling. The book's side foray into the Olympics was an added bonus. While cycling is part of the plot - as are the Olympics - the focus of the book really is more about people, their journeys and the triumph of the human spirit.

Riding has a slower pace that allows the author to explore each character's thoughts and life experiences. The human condition and the main characters' individual journeys are offered up for discussion at regular moments throughout, set in many different scenarios. Relationships come under the microscope from business, to community, to friends, to family.  Philosophy gently finds its way onto the pages. Along the way we learn about the vast amount of planning and work done many years before any Olympic city officially open their doors to the international community.

Given the slower pace of the storyline and thoughtful nature of some of the passages that would cause me to stop for a bit and ponder, I found myself intrigued by why I couldn't put the book down - chapter followed chapter. I think there are two reasons. As I love interviewing and writing the journeys of people I interview, I enjoyed following the stories of the main characters. The writer created real individuals that I ended up feeling I knew intimately. The second is a little simpler. I love knowledge. Cassitas brought to the table an interesting look behind the scenes at the preparation involved in several Olympic cities. I had no idea. This is one I will be reading again in the future - the sign of a great book!

Buy the book: Amazon ~ Barnes & Nobles ~ Book Depository

Meet The Author

Picture
"In my mind, words came in strides. They aligned themselves in arguments that were ready for combat after rebelling themselves - and that was just inkling. Were was my certainty to support the new image? And where were my emotions, with their brushes to bring color to life?"

Born in the interior of the state of Paraná, Brazil, Cassia Cassitas accumulated various degrees throughout her career in Information Technology. The author of three novels, her texts convey ideas accumulated amidst the smell of coffee plantations, shoe factories, and the technology of the 20th century. These texts deal with life-altering episodes, in a path lit by a harmonious blend of memories and imagination.

Want to know a little more about the author - check out my more intimate Q and A interview HERE!

Connect with the author: Website Facebook Twitter

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