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Cycling to Asylum Paperback – May 6, 2014
"Sokol excels at narrating real-life relationships, capturing natural nuance, letting her characters live life in the small, hungry ways that we all do." New Perspectives on Canadian Literature "Written with honesty, aching precision and tons of heart." Stereo Embers Magazine "Told in four voices ... this story is layered rather than simply linear." The Ottawa Review of Books "You will find yourself turning pages faster than your imagination can keep up." Hot Indie News --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Su J. Sokol is a Montreal activist, a cyclist, and a writer of speculative and interstitial fiction. Originally from Brooklyn, Sokol studied law and philosophy before becoming a community lawyer specializing in housing. She immigrated to Canada in 2004 and now lives in Montréal with her family. Sokol works for a community organization as a social rights advocate. Her short stories have been published in Spark: A Creative Anthology and The Future Fire. Cycling to Asylum is her first novel.
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Top customer reviews
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That said, I do enjoy a certain sense of national pride when I read this book - that Canada is where people go to find hope and a new life (this publishing house publishes several Canadian-based works, so I expected nothing less from them). They leave New York to get away from violence and terrorist groups to find a new life and hope in Montreal. I enjoyed Sokol's accurate use of the intermix of English and French that characterizes much Canadian speech, especially in Quebec, and I thought the mood of a Canadian city in winter was captured best of all. Also, I enjoyed the sexual/relational freedom Laek and his wife Janie enjoy in their marriage, as their relationship with Philip seems to represent a bridge between the bad parts of the U.S. they are leaving behind and the good memories they made there.
All in all, I give this book a solid 3 out of 5 stars, for an interesting storyline, but no more than 3, for taking too long to reach a climax and the staunch formulaic nature of the manuscript.
Hello, my name is Timothy Carter. I'm a good writer. I can tell a decent yarn, boil a few pots, that sort of thing.
Su J. Sokol is a GREAT writer. The kind of author I know I'll never be. Her talent for creating characters, describing locations, adding the sort of detail that makes everything in the book seem real... wow. That's what I'm left with. Wow.
Set in a near-future North America, Cycling to Asylum tells the story of an activist and his family who are forced to move from Brooklyn to Montreal to avoid government persecution. Each member of the family (Laek the activist husband, Janie the former lawyer and wife, Siri the baseball-playing teenage daughter and Simon the perceptive younger son) tell their sides of the story from their own unique points of view, a narrative technique I've never seen done before. This storytelling device gives the reader a much more engrossing look inside the dynamics of this family, and how each of their decisions affect the others. The result is a more satisfying and meaningful read than I've encountered in a very long time.
I could say more, but that would take precious reading time away from you. Cycling to Asylum. Go get it. Read it. Immediately!
I’m not an unbiased reader or reviewer. Su is a classmate of mine from NYU Law School, and many years ago she and her husband Glenn lived down the block from me in Brooklyn. I’d long admired Su’s commitment as a public interest lawyer, but a strong knack for advocacy doesn’t make one a novelist, as the world is besieged with wannabe writers holding law degrees! In Su’s case, however, I found myself taken by her ability to create interesting characters and to tell a story. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more of Su's work.
In the hope of something better, the family follows example of a family favorite story and uses bicycles to enter a new country and hopefully a better life.
The author has given a quick, yet deep emotional roller-coaster to the lives of Leak, Janie, Siri and Simon. Each member has different obstacles to overcome and rely on each other to be able to do so.
As a first novel from the author, it was well planned out if a little dry at times for the read.