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The Cyclist Conspiracy

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  355 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
The Cyclist Conspiracy tells the tale of a secret Brotherhood who meet in dreams, gain esoteric knowledge from contemplation of the bicycle, and seek to move in and out of history, manipulating events; the Brothers are part of a conspiracy so vast and so secret that, in many cases, the conspirators themselves are unaware of their participation in it. Told through a series ...more
Paperback, Open Letter, 280 pages
Published March 20th 2012 (first published 1987)
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Mar 17, 2012 Greg rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, open-letter

The Evangelical Bicyclists of the Rose Cross are lurking the shadows, their numbers are made up with people like George W. Bush Jr, Emil Cioran, Steven Hawking and Woody Allen. They have existed for centuries and they meet in their dreams and plot for the final battle when the forces of good will vanquish the worldly forces of evil. Some say that they have existed ever since the Tower of Babylon was destroyed and the Architects who attempted the infernal tower's creation began to plan
MJ Nicholls
Mar 26, 2015 MJ Nicholls rated it really liked it
Book upon book upon book read by MJ, another capsule review scrunched and scrunched and scrunched, another five or six idle likes from the idle masses. The MJ GR reviewing production line is: ON STRIKE! You hear me, ingrates?! I have signed up instead to the Evangelical Bicyclists of the Rose Cross, and I will be reviewing instead the correspondence from Joseph Kowalsky, beginning with a letter from Sigmund Freud to Manny Rayner, outlining his new theory about GR reviewers whose phallic reviewin ...more
Nov 13, 2012 Daniel rated it really liked it
The first 75 pages of this book floored me. Basara posits a sect whose members question the nature of reality and strive to separate themselves from the lies that they see pervading all existence. Various documents surface throughout the book, including a "lost" Sherlock Holmes story; correspondence between Sigmund Freud and characters in the book; newspaper editorials discussing the ideological stance of some mysterious document called the "Dictionary of Technology;" and many other fragments an ...more
Oct 20, 2012 Jonfaith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: balkan
My reading of such was enhanced by reading while in Beograd, but suffered from drowning in pivo and being unable to access a corresponding bucket of espresso. This was a novel with warm nature and the Indian Summer of Serbia in late September kept me in uncertain straits. I swear to not finding my equilibrium until aboard an Airbus across the Atlantic.
Apr 14, 2015 Nick rated it liked it
Recommends it for: philosophy scholars and students
This is difficult to review because it's not so much a novel; in that the 'story' is a smattering of journal articles, poems, epistles, universal omniscient narration, historical documents, illustrations and biographies of the Little Brothers of the Evangelical Bicyclists of the Rose Cross (a nod to the Rosicrucian secret society, i believe). If the numerous form don't make it disjointed enough, the book is steeped in esoterica, Marxist politics, and classical European philosophy, notably that o ...more
Dec 06, 2015 Bjorn rated it really liked it
Shelves: serbia
There is something inherently heretical about bicycles. A mode of transport that's powered by man alone, which looks impossible but that anyone can master, whose adherents buzz back and forth through cities with little care for rules since the big cities of Europe are built either for cars or mass transportation. The illusion of freedom and free will (free wheel?) that can end under the wheels of a bus at any second.

Anno Domini 1347, Monsignor Robert de Prevois, the Inquisitor of Paris, received
Христо Блажев
Евангелски велосипедисти бдят над световната история:

Светислав Басара и „Легенда за велосипедистите“ потапя читателя в тайните на мистериозна секта, която, въртейки педалите, направлява човешката история. Те са Ордена на „Малките братя“ - Евангелските велосипедисти от кръста на Розата.

Това е уникален по рода си Орден. Неговите последователи се събират насън, където вече починалите или още неродените велосипедисти съветват живите какво да правят, така че
Dec 09, 2014 Metaphorosis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, 2014-rev

4 stars

The fragmentary history of the Evangelical Bicyclists of the Rose Cross. Members receive dream instructions from future members, and arrange events so as to prevent the reconstruction of the Tower of Babylon.

This book was presented to me as "the best of Serbian sarcasm". It may well be, and it certainly has overtones of sarcasm throughout. The concept is absurd, the construction interesting, the writing strong. Serbian authors seem to tend toward the experimental,
Rob T
Nov 13, 2012 Rob T rated it really liked it
If you have a sense of humor and a weakness for conspiracy then this is the book for you. Witty histories, letters, and manifestos from an evangelical group of bicyclists who meet in dreams to shape the future. I can't say I approve of all of their theology (they consider the female soul--bicycle frame--weaker because it lacks a horizontal cross bar) and I did need Wikipedia to brush up on eschatology and the history of iconoclasm, but this is my favorite Open Letter publication yet.
Sep 20, 2014 Calzean rated it really liked it
An extremely creative book in both the story and the form it takes. A bizarre sect shows us how some beliefs, for people who are not believers, cannot be understood. The bicycle is a symbol of man and woman, religion and change. A belief that the future changes the present. At times hard to follow with the creativity and intelligence of the writer. At times funny. But always challenging the reader to challenge what is considered to be the acceptance of normality.
Oct 13, 2015 Meg added it
Shelves: translation, serbian
I'm not sure what I think yet, I hunger for someone either a) familiar with Serbian culture or Serbian lit or just this guy's overall work to read and discuss this with me! I could look for Serbian reviews/criticism, but I'm afraid the google translate problem will interfere with my understanding. Anyway! The Cyclist Conspiracy is basically an absurdist take of secret societies and the ills of the human condition using a collection of fake literature - imagine you found a box in someone's person ...more
Chad Post
Sep 23, 2010 Chad Post rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a crazy, intriguing, weird, fun book. Here's a solid review by another Basara/Serbian Literature fan:
Sep 17, 2012 Tuck rated it liked it
Shelves: europa
this book drove me mad. and cars ARE satan.
please see this review for a good time:
Dec 08, 2014 Anthony rated it really liked it
This was a fabulous joyride of a book. Written in a completely unorthodox style, The Cyclist Conspiracy is a collection of short stories, letters, poems, interviews, dictionary excerpts, cartographical instructions, and even a lost story from the files of Sherlock Holmes. With a variety of narrative voices and styles jammed within a single novel’s pages, one would expect a confusing a disjointed disarray of artistic ego-stroking – and yet, despite that potential – Basara’s vision comes together ...more
Feb 13, 2012 Samantha rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Won this book via first time winning! :) The three-star rating I am giving the book is more of a reflection on me than on the book itself. While I think the idea of telling the story through various documents (letters, diagrams, journal entries) is very creative and unique, it results in the book constantly changing tone and complexity. There was one point where there are so many footnotes, intended paragraphs of side information and multiple columns of text going on all at once ...more
Sep 25, 2013 Zach rated it liked it
This is a weird one. There is a secret society titled The Evangelical Bicyclists whose members travel through time and dreams to mold historical events of the past and future. The grand conspiracy is laid out through the "discovery" of discontinuous documents ranging from philosophical letters to Freudian analysis to transcription of a king. There isn't much of a plot per se; the reader has to triangulate truth through these scattered clues, which are affected by the fluidity of time in the narr ...more
Feb 28, 2014 Ilana rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
I think more than anything this book showed the incredible versatility of the author. From academic writing to twisted journal entries to poetry, Basara somehow manages to make all the forms unique and interesting.

I liked the idea of the "conspiracy," particularly the idea of a sect that aims to see things from all sides. However, I think I missed a ton of what was important about this book because I don't know enough about Serbia, its political, cultural and religious history, and what was goin
Nov 20, 2015 Alistair rated it liked it
A challenging read. I loved untangling the riddle of what the Little Brothers are and what it is they are planning to achieve. The form was unusual and the conclusion is left open. Not as unsatisfying as Pynchon(?) but on a similar level. Don't read this if you are looking for a light read and a traditional story narrative.
May 05, 2012 Vincent rated it really liked it
What a strange book. That said: I loved it, even when it drove me half mad. All the reviews of this one will likely use the term "Borgesian" to describe it, and rightfully so. More than Dan Brown or even Umberto Eco, Basara earns the right to have the Argentine master's name associated with his text. This is not a novel but a collection of (fictional) documents edited to shed light on a secret society, so secret that many of its members are not aware they are members. Along the way are philosoph ...more
May 07, 2013 Abby rated it liked it
Shelves: three-star
I really liked it. I guess I'm just not sure of its importance: it's fun to read, like a puzzle; it's more about figuring out what's going on than anything else. I don't think it's deep, really; it's parodying depth, or people trying to be deep, or mysticism, but it's trying to partake of the thing it's parodying. He's trying to be a mixture of Eco and Borges, but Borges' virtue is in part in his brevity, and Eco can keep both a plot and a parody of mysticism going. Part of the fun of conspiracy ...more
Volim ove igrarije istinom...
World Literature Today
"The Cyclist Conspiracy, Svetislav Basara’s second novel to be translated into English (expertly by Randall A. Major), is a dizzying, vertiginous ride in which the real is constantly at loggerheads with the unreal." - Malcolm Forbes, Berlin

This book was reviewed in the September/October 2012 issue of World Literature Today. The full review can be read at the WLT website:
Apr 20, 2012 Kokomo rated it liked it
This book was a fun but challenging read. I say challenging because the book is written in the form of many documents than jump back and forth through history. As soon as you begin to see the direction of one document, or begin to understand the style of it, you have to shift gears to a completely new level. Although this is not easy reading, it is stimulating and I recommend it!
Chad Post
Jul 20, 2015 Chad Post rated it it was amazing
DISCLAIMER: I am the publisher of the book and thus spent approximately two years reading and editing and working on it. So take my review with a grain of salt, or the understanding that I am deeply invested in this text and know it quite well. Also, I would really appreciate it if you would purchase this book, since it would benefit Open Letter directly.
Svetla Angelova
Mar 24, 2013 Svetla Angelova rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Забавна, но не дотолкова, че да я препоръчам за четене. Може би, защото Уди Алън е ненадминат в неговият хумор, сатира и забава. Всички останали са бледи копия, дори и Велисопедистите. Мога да отделя няколко забележителни странички от Басара, но за мен това не е достатъчно. С други думи, можете спокойно да я подминете, няма да загубите нищо!
Milos Zerzevski
Kada sam u srednjoj skoli citao ovu knjigu, utisak mi je bio pozitivan, medjutim sada mi je sve delovalo haoticno i ne toliko zanimljivo iako sam ocekivao da ce razumevanje stiva sad biti vece. Ili je moja srednjoskolska glava bila haoticnija ili mi Basarin svet sad nije vise blizak...
Peter van Hardenberg
Jan 13, 2014 Peter van Hardenberg rated it really liked it
Strange, and highly referential. The closest reference I could make is House of Leaves but without the horror subplot and more Central European influence.
Jan 03, 2014 Sarah rated it it was ok
Recommended to Sarah by: Mia K
I found this too fragmented and not very engaging. Somewhat Borgesian but not in an exciting way. Constantly felt the urge to skim, and sometimes gave in.
May 29, 2012 Stephen rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
Imagine an eastern European Borges writing an anthology (in different voices) on a shadowy fraternity of Cyclists intent on altering the course of world history and you'll have some sense of what Basara's Cyclist Conspiracy is like.
Oct 30, 2015 Liz rated it really liked it
This was a rather strange, but often entertaining book. If you like bicycles, history, religious doctrine, psychoanalysis, and have more than small penchant for the absurd, then this book might be for you.
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Goodreads Librari...: The Cyclist Conspiracy 3 12 Dec 09, 2014 10:08AM  
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Svetislav Basara (Serbian cyrillic: Светислав Басара) (born December 21, 1953 in Bajina Bašta, Yugoslavia, today Serbia) is a contemporary Serbian author. He is the author of more than twenty literary works, including novels, story collections, and essays. He has received numerous Serbian literary awards, and his novel Fuss about Cyclists (Fama o biciklistima) is considered by his countrymen to be ...more
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“Книгите имат свой живот и своя смърт. А онези, чиито автори не са вярвали в смъртта, имат и задгробен живот. Други пък, чиито писатели са вярвали в прераждането, биват написани отново. Невъзможно е да се отдели съдбата на книгата от съдбата на нейния автор, а във всичко това се наместват и съдбите на читателите. Другояче казано, не читателят е този, който търси книгата, а той е търсеният, а има и произведения, които се крият по забутани места чак докато не се озоват в ръцете на онзи, за когото са предназначени.” 1 likes
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