Customer Review

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Utter self indulgent tosh, 29 July 2010
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This review is from: The Beautiful Machine: A Life in Cycling, from Tour de France to Cinder Hill (Hardcover)
I bought this among a clutch of books to take away with me on an extended holiday. Imagine my disappointment when I sat down excitedly to read it and quickly discovered that I'd mistakenly purchased a poorly written ode to self indugence.
The author takes perhaps my favourite subject and distorts it out of enjoyable recognition. Instead of the inspiring book artfully describing the sport I love so much I found myself reading an autobiography of a very tedious show off who happens to like bikes.
Despite his faux modesty of never paying attention to the distances he cycles - you know because he's like a force of nature or something - we're then treated to exactly these distances, clearly so you know just what a terrific force of nature Mr Fife is.
Whenever he rides with friends, his young daughter or more or less anyone come to that, he always makes sure he arrives first.
He points this out again and again just in case you are ever in any confusion as to who is the fastest and obviously therefore best rider. So, he wins EVERY ride he goes on to the point where I began wondering why he goes cycling with anyone else at all as he seems to spend 50% of every ride waiting for the puny mortals to catch him up.

Mr Fife's hardships and misfortunes seems to be almost manufactured as a device purely show that whatever curveballs life throws at him, he can rise above it. He would mention being fatally mauled by a crocodile only to point out with studied nonchalance that he went on to conquer Mt Ventoux later that afternoon no handed.

Intersped this slow motion mid life crisis with appalling name dropping of his other books, projects, radio programs etc (point being, he's constantly busy and much in demand) and add a layer of genuinely toe curling home spun cod philosophy and you've got a tome that's truely outstanding in the field of really awful literature. Books like this should remain firmly in the vangard of the self published and his editor could do with a forceful explanation as to what their job description actually entails.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 22 Mar 2011 22:14:55 GMT
Wocca says:
Sounds like it's so bad it's good...or maybe not. Either way i'm going to have a quick read at my local library. Thank god i won't have to pay a penny for it!

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Mar 2011 20:10:06 GMT
Dave Noble says:
Good plan Wocca. You may actually like what Fife has to say, some people obviously do. It's plainly obvious I'm just certainly not one of them.
While I do love Roleur magazine, if it's any consolation, I find his sycophantic writing for them equally as risible. D.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Apr 2011 17:14:40 BDT
D. Jeffries says:
Maybe the books fails but I have to say I love the style and feeling behind this review .

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Apr 2011 17:14:58 BDT
D. Jeffries says:
Maybe the books fails but I have to say I love the style and feeling behind this review .
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