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The Escape Artist: Life from the Saddle Paperback – 6 Feb 2003

4.4 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 194 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate Ltd; New Ed edition (6 Feb. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841151041
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841151045
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 331,519 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

In reviewing Matt Seaton's The Escape Artist, the irresistible temptation is to adopt the shorthand of a marketing pitch and call it the Fever Pitch of cycling. Seaton's book, like Nick Hornby's, is about male obsession and the ways it changes (or doesn't) in the face of growing responsibility and maturity. In Fever Pitch the obsession was Arsenal FC; in The Escape Artist) the obsession is cycle-racing, the sport of strange, lycra-clad lads with shaved legs and eyes permanently fixed on the back wheel of the bike ahead. Seaton is particularly good at evoking the rituals of the sport (the loving maintenance of both body and bike, the relentless monitoring of calories, pulse beats and heart rates) and at recreating the adrenaline thrills it provides. His descriptions of his own races--with the cyclists bunched together for mile after mile, each one testing and assessing the pace and stamina of the others, until the sudden, dramatic opportunity to "escape" the pack offers itself--go a long way towards explaining the otherwise inexplicable hold the sport has on its devotees. His accounts of his own developing responsibilities, and of the tragedy of his wife's illness and premature death, which force him to reassess the priorities in his life, seem more tentative. It is as if the experiences, unsurprisingly, are still too raw and painful to be approached in any less oblique and indirect way. Yet it is these passages that give the book an individuality that makes it much more than just another story of male obsession. The Escape Artist is a brief book, easily read, but it is a moving one and it manages to say much in a short space about subjects more important than cycle-racing.--Nick Rennison --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


'As poignant an elegy as I have ever read. I finished the last chapters of this book just before I went to sleep, and in the morning, with a swoop of grief in my guts, it was the first thing I thought of.'
Toby Clements, Daily Telegraph

‘Thoroughly tragic and almost brilliant. The Escape Artist is an achingly sad account of what Seaton now refers to as 'my former life.'
Robert MacFarlane, Observer

'A heart-stopping examination of how, why and for what we push ourselves to the edge. I never thought I'd cry about bikes and cycling. It is one of those rare books you could give to absolutely anyone – and one you'll want to keep by you and read again and again.'
Julie Myerson

‘This book is, above all, about passion and loss. It's about the passion of life at the very edge of athletic and mechanical achievement that is eventually lost to love of a wife and children, which in turn gives way to the loss of the wise and mother herself. I read and relished this book.'
Jon Snow, Guardian

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20 October 2006
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
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23 September 2002
Format: Hardcover
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30 July 2006
Format: Paperback
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9 August 2007
Format: Paperback
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8 April 2009
Format: Paperback
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6 March 2003
Format: Hardcover
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15 April 2008
Format: Paperback
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