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The Cyclist Conspiracy

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  260 ratings  ·  25 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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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...more
Aidan Watson-Morris
my favorite open letter publication yet, though énard's zone is more 'important' & ambitious (read: the one that will get assigned in class, while basara's grows a cult following from used bookstores). incredibly entertaining, & well diversified so as to never run out of steam. i read it slowly, savoring each bit. never laughed out loud, but am pretty sure a stupid grin was plastered to my face whenever i picked it up. there's more substance to it than i'm letting on here, but i feel lik...more
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
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.
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...more
Rob T
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.
Chad Post
What a crazy, intriguing, weird, fun book. Here's a solid review by another Basara/Serbian Literature fan:
Sep 17, 2012 Tuck rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: europa
this book drove me mad. and cars ARE satan.
please see this review for a good time:
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
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
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.
e.v. de cleyre
I was skeptical when I picked up The Cyclist Conspiracy; at first glance it seemed to be a collection of dry articles and essays. Basara's novel is anything but boring. Each chapter brings something usual and unexpected, whether that be a strange perspective (like Freud's), or a unique voice (such as the chapter narrated by a man who could predict the future). What at first looks like a random assortment of articles and manifestos becomes a series of interconnected prose, poems, and documents. C...more
Feb 28, 2014 Ilana rated it 3 of 5 stars
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...more
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
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
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:
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!
Svetla Angelova
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!
Peter van Hardenberg
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 2 of 5 stars
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.
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.
Jesse Kimmel-Freeman
Highly enjoyable! Glad I won this! It was surprising and easy to read. I recommend it!
Mina Anderson
my friend called it "the schizophrenic book" -- I think that pretty much sums it up :)
Extremely interesting. Wonderful concept. Really enjoyed reading this book.
Whitney marked it as to-read
Oct 18, 2014
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Oct 16, 2014
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Oct 15, 2014
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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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