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The Invisible Mile

3.02  ·  Rating details ·  158 ratings  ·  35 reviews
The 1928 Ravat-Wonder team from New Zealand and Australia were the first English-speaking team to ride the Tour de France. From June through July they faced one of toughest in the race’s history: 5,476 kilometres of unsealed roads on heavy, fixed-wheel bikes. They rode in darkness through mountains with no light and brakes like glass. They weren’t expected to finish, but s ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published June 11th 2015 by Victoria University Press
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Average rating 3.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  158 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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Sep 12, 2016 rated it it was ok
I loved the premise for this book and really enjoyed the racing parts, however the rest of the book was really hard work. Will be quickly forgotten I feel.
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
As a big fan of the Tour de France and a teacher of history, I was drawn to this debut novel about the first English-speaking team to ride the Tour not long after World War I. But I'm sorry to say that I was almost immediately disappointed. The book is far too psychological and impressionistic for my taste, almost like a bad Hemingway impersonation; all the characters speak in the same vague, rambling way. Where there is the promise of plot revelations to interrupt the litany of description, the ...more
Iryna Tymchenko
Nov 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Invisible Mile is a book of incredible passion. It is so sensitive that I could literary hear the beat of excitement in every sentence, with each intonation rise. It is built on emotional accents - a rare, yet captivating technique, which makes you want to read the book aloud. From the very first page it suggests you its own rhythm, which you breathe till the end of the book, and then feel short of breath for a while after you finish reading. Only very good books can do this to a reader.
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
The Invisible Mile sounded like a promising read. I thought that the storyline seemed strong and although it's not the type of book that I would typically go for I'm always open minded to different genres so I thought that I would give it a go
I felt like it was quite difficult to immerse myself into the book and I found it to be somewhat disjointed and I didn't feel any real connection with any of the characters.
The part that I found the most difficult to fathom was why the main character
Steve King
Jul 02, 2016 rated it it was ok
Couldn't finish it sorry. Perhaps you need to be on the same drugs as the main protagonist to enjoy it. Quite evocative but too deep for my tastes. Looking forward to the documentary on this subject in this year's NZ Film Festival though.
Stephen Squirrell
Nov 14, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really had to force myself to finish this and at the end I wished I hadn't bothered. The details of the bike race were OK but the rest was so airy fairy - I broke my mean rule of book reading, never read a prize winner! - life is too short to read this - what is it about ???
Martin Mccann
Verbosity does not always equal profundity

Let me begin by saying that David Coventry writes beautifully. Or, to be more precise, he writes beautiful, individual sentences, laced with metaphor and discriptive prowess, and keen observations. So why do I make the distinction? Simply because almost every single sentence in the book is overwritten in this way. It makes reading more of a slog than actually riding the 1928 Tour de France. Often I found myself getting agitated because sometimes being dir
Jethro Walrustitty
Mar 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"Everyday I crash and I hope its the end". This sentence probably sums up the action of this book better than any other. But this is much more than a book about the 1928 Tour de France. This is epic literature with all the usual themes present; suffering, redemption, the horrors of war, the camaraderie of men, love and loss. There are also descriptions of the torments of stage racing of such hallucinatory intensity you'll never question why cyclists dope again. Rather you'll question what kind o ...more
Sarah Jane Barnett
Feb 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book was an incredible read. Unrelenting, lyrical, biblical, brutal! I felt like I was doing the Tour de France myself. I am in two minds about the ending. What I am doing is still thinking about talking about it.
Richard J. Alley
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review first appeared in The Memphis Flyer (Sept. 14, 2017)

If you're like me, around the time Memphis social media was blowing up over news that Zach Randolph would be wrapping his dishes in newspaper in preparation for a move west last July, you were caught up in the drama of super-sprinter Peter Sagan's disqualification from this year's Tour de France following his fracas in Stage 4 of the race.

I know, I'm still upset about it, too.

My schedule over those weeks
Stefan White
Oct 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A real challenge to read, I cant even imagine how a translator could possibly passably transform it into another language (even though Im a translator myself). The endless grind of ploughing through the narrators thoughts is at least as gruelling as riding the Tour must have been in 1928. That said; and yet, extremely rewarding. The cover on my version has a quote from a review that goes something like "bruising, beautiful and ultimately transcendental" and that is exactly how I experienced it. ...more
Martin Roberts
Mar 07, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A massive disappointment. I bought this book to see what all the fuss was about, but any point it is meant to have gets lost in all the verbiage. Although ostensibly about the first English-speaking team to compete in the Tour de France, it simply doesn't ring true and utterly fails to get inside the head of a cyclist, as The Rider does effortlessly from the first lines.

We have clichés about bursting lungs, pain and an obsession with bloodshed and splintered bones, which is presumably the
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
As a very keen cyclist and Tour de France enthusiast, I enjoyed the racing parts of this book immensely. I thought the author brilliantly captured the racers subtle shift in emotions as the race wore on, and how the borderline delirium sets in as seemingly, the narrator became the architect of his own demise both mentally and physically. I felt there were parts of this book that made me pause for thought as I tried to pull some of the lines from within the context of this story and apply it to a ...more
Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
I did not enjoy this book. The style was very "psychological," as another reader has described it. I found it annoying and it didn't help me to get into the story. There were some very long sentences.

The book was less about cycling and more about a fictional rider trying to come to terms with himself and his family's history. There was a lot of showing and not telling, which can be good, but sometimes I was confused. I was also taken aback by a very nasty description of a war crime t
Dec 29, 2016 rated it liked it
This book has a great story to tell and does the cycling really well but it also tries to to show the impact of the 1WW on those who are racing and had been involved or impacted by the war, this work less well. Some of the writing was too mystical and flowery for me. The 1928 tour is a great story and there is a film "Le Ride" that tries to recreate the rdie that I would like to see, but it appears to only be available in NZ
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a wild and beautiful fictionalised account of a New Zealand and Australian team that rode the 1928 Tour de France. At times the prose are quite stunning, leaving pictures that I struggled to dislodge from my thinking. There is a lot of drugs, anger and grief in the story and this often left me feeling as if I was tripping and lost. A well written book, the end is maybe a little disappointing, but well worth the read.
Derek Brown
Oct 05, 2017 rated it liked it
I don't know what to think about this book. In some ways I felt I was suffering as much as the chief protagonist, reading page after page wondering when the phyisical pain would end. The descriptive prowess of the author is not in question as I resonated with the action on the course. But I wish I could have worked out what was going on. Sometimes I was in the kind of hazy trance the narrator often inhabited trying to figure out the plot. Or maybe that was my mistake.
Piper Adelman
Jan 15, 2018 rated it liked it
I thought this would be more like "Boys in the Boat", and while it did have lots of information about the Tour de France, and the narrative was based on a true story, it went in lots of different, meandering directions, some of which did not succeed in the goal of great storytelling.
Aug 04, 2019 rated it liked it
A funny book...not funny haha ....more funny strange...inasmuch as it seems like it is going to be a fictional history of an actual event (the first English speaking team in the Tour re France)..which ultimately it is and yet....the Cycling seems secondary and instead we are faced with intense back stories and reflections which are almost Henry Miller like.
The above wouldn't be a bad thing but I was expecting something with a bit more focus on the actual team and how a team alien in many w
Noa Samelson
Sep 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A very poetic upmarket title, for literary novels lovers and for Tour de France edicts.
Cynthia Van der Wielen
Was not engaging until about half way through and even then was not really interesting enough to get my full attention. I found the style of writing very difficult to follow
Dave S
Jun 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Enjoyed the descriptions of the Tour but would have preferred less of the melodramatic parts of Novel
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
Most of it didn't work for me. Tortured soul in a bike race. I wish I had just read Chapter 21.
David Kirchman
Aug 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literary-fiction
This is a beautifully written novel that goes back and forth between the Tour de France in 1929, the Great War, and the unnamed narrator's brother and sister back in New Zealand.
Paula Glennis
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is pretty much exquisite. A meditation on war and the religiosity of memory, all told through the inhuman hardships of the `28 TdF. This ain't an historical novel, but it reads like one, which is it's trick I think. More accurately it's a novel about the construction of history. Awesome read. ...more
Apr 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a passionate novel and a novel of passion; passion for the animate effort of cycling in tortuous conditions in the 1928 Tour de France, passion for family and the impact of The Great War and ignorance of fragile health and premature mortality, passion for the French countryside that is anything but inanimate, and passion for the country of origin left behind so this great adventure could be lived. There are some really interesting historical aspects of cycling in the post-war era reveale ...more
A beautifully written story about cyclists competing in the 1928 Tour de France that was so dangerous 162 cyclists began the race but only 42 finished.
While this may seem like narrative non-fiction, this book is here to teach you about the event but rather immerse you in it through the eyes of an Austrailian cycling team. This unique approach really made this book stick out to me and helped me understand the culture of cycling today.
I recommend this to anyone who bike rides or appreciates comp
Aug 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
This is a confusing read. Consider it faction . Ostensibly about an Australian/New Zealand cycling team in the 1928 Tour de France . However this is really just to a backdrop to the unnamed narrator reliving his older brother's experience of the Ist World War . Then there is the mysterious Celia and Alice and a completely unexpected ending . I guess I would not have read this had it not been free in a prize draw but even so it's a strange story .
Rupert Reynolds-maclean
Jun 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this. Great first novel from David Coventry.
Elizabeth Chorney-Booth
This is a book about bike racing. I liked it!
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Goodreads Librari...: The Invisible Mile 2 15 Jul 26, 2016 01:54AM  

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David Coventry was awarded the Hubert Church Award for Fiction in 2016 at the New Zealand Book Awards. A graduate of the IIML, his novel The Invisible Mile (2015) re-imagines the gruelling 1928 Tour de France. The novel is Published in New Zealand by Victoria University Press, in the UK and Commonwealth (ex Can) by Picador UK, and the USA and Canada by Europa Editions (June 2017). Translations are ...more