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A new Richmond novel, The Bicycle Man, is “a multi-layered tale of the pleasures and perils of adolescence, of friendship that transcends age and color, of personal and national pain,” “Radiates with originality and eloquence.” writes the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
For Sandy Rivers, the known world is the suburban landscape of his morning paper route, an intimate if unsteady place where the illusions of comfort, sanctuary and myth are shattered by daily headlines that chronicle a country torn by Vietnam, Civil Rights and the struggle for national purpose.
It's the spring of 1968. Belief in American providence is clashing with the limits of American might. During the next sixteen months, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated in Memphis, Bobby Kennedy is killed in L.A., Richard Nixon goes to the White House and Neil Armstrong walks on the moon.
For a Virginia community on the outskirts of Richmond, the racial fault line is a bamboo grove by a honeysuckle swamp. The messenger for national promise and peril is Sandy, who delivers the news, the good with the bad. And helping him sort out the growing pains of a new job and young love is a mysterious figure with a tragic secret who both challenges the boy and stands by him as Sandy confronts a staggering loss.
This is a story of friendship. This is a story of hope. It's the story of an era that helped shape our country and define our times, told through one boy's extraordinary journey through his own small patch of America. And it's the story of a debt he can never repay to someone he knows only as, the Bicycle Man.