Monday, 21 December 2009

Sebastian Faulks dislikes cyclists

At several moments in the book, while they’re travelling around London on their various business, several characters come across a cyclist who swerves unexpectedly or aggressively, nearly causing an accident.

The cyclist – either the same fast-moving figure, or one of an interchangeable number – functions as a small device to tie together the multiple narratives of the book. But he also functions, more simply, as the representative of an urban scourge.

When you read all the novel’s minor incidents as features of its larger litany of complaints, the list of the really grave problems of the age includes laissez-faire capitalism, Islamic fundamentalism, and cyclists who ignore traffic signals.