convincing and moving portrayals of quiet, selfless valor told with a great textured, muscular writing:
“Towns flattened for miles, those civilians unable to flee living as troglodytes in cellars half-flooded with rain and sewage, making hopscotch forays to find crusts or cabbage leaves in the rubbled gutters” (p. 33).
this novel on the surface is occupied primarily with two physical activities: being a sniper (during the second world war) and racing bicycles. but rose’s beautifully rendered description of these two (at times sinister) occupations make us touch our animal side — and by that we’re uncannily opened up to profound moral and philosophical quandaries.
here’s an interview revealing, among other interesting bits, a sebald-related origin story.