Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Riding by Cassia Cassitas : A Review

Book TitleRiding by Cassia Cassitas
Category:  Adult fiction, 254 pages
Genre:  Parenting & Relationship / Special Needs
Publisher:  CreateSpace
Release date:  April 2015
          Amidst real events and landscapes, men and women like us wander the cities we inhabit, rehearsing happier lives in the pages of this motivational narrative. From each one, destiny took a part to make them perfect.
          When he is born, Andre propels his mother's life in a new direction. His father, an executive who organizes Olympic competitions around the world and doesn't know when to come back home, strives to make him a wordly citizen. Cycling, his life acquires purpose: becoming an Olympic para-athlete.
          Together with his friends, he experiences disappointments and new beginnings. A doctor that builds robots, the daughter of a lonely teenager, and a retired athlete teach André how to overcome his limits and live his dream.
          Set in Curitiba with breaks in Los Angeles, Seoul, Johannesburg and Soweto, Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, Athens, Beijing and London, the narrative ends in 2012, in Rio de Janeiro.
          As a tribute to all those who choose to sign the next episodes of their lives, this book is about overcoming one’s self amid achievements, obstacles, love and heroism, written behind the scenes of life.
          Riding – a book that made me want to read the original version (the one before translation)
          The book is not the usual novel /novelette/ or an anthology. It is, for want of a better word, different. At first, it seemed like a journal entry, with each entry dated and read about a particular character and their relation to a common theme. Then I thought it was a collection of short stories that described the behind the scenes of Olympics and lives of athletes. Only after about a quarter of the book did I realise that it was a unique book. And while I was half way through, it finally hit me that this is a work that has been translated to English. It is enjoyable, nevertheless.
          The stories of Mario, Elizabeth and Andre are written with good phrasing and with messages given subtly. I really loved the vague and ambiguous mention of Paralympics and the actual connection with the stories. They are taking place over three decades and each event is significant (which is why you shouldn’t skim this book or skip pages even though it does seem a bit off point at times). But it really is a small book. You wouldn’t feel like skipping pages once you get past the translated words and delve into the story.
          True to its words, the summary is a short account of what you could expect from the actual story. The characters (even the nameless ones that are not mentioned clearly) have such a depth that the reader is left pleasantly surprised. The book takes you across continents and makes sure you are always expecting the next vivid visuals that the author is going to come up with. Though sometimes the descriptions are too elaborate, if you do like books that talk about life in various places and the nativity, you would love this book.
          Riding is not only an inspirational read. It is an emotional read, it gives a whole lot of information and it would appeal to a wide range of audience from children to adults. Riding is not a book restricted to only a particular person. It has a flavour for every type of reader. Just don’t be misled by noting the basic points given in the summary or the mistaken assumption that it is an exaggeration. Riding is truly a readers’ delight. My only peeve was that the translation is broken in a few places and this made me feel that somehow such works should be read in the original language they were written in. (not happening in the near future for this particular reviewer, but still!)
          There are times when every book lover has to choose between reading a book at a go and rushing to the end, or reading it a few pages at a time, savouring the pleasure of the written word. The book that makes the reader consider these options would either be too bad that it had to be finished quickly or could only be read a few pages at a time, or it would be too good, making the reader want to rush and see how it ends or slowly let the contents seep in by reading it in parts. Riding falls in the ‘too good’ category. Riding would not disappoint you. Go enjoy the ride!


          "In my mind, words came in strides. They aligned themselves in arguments that were ready for combat after rebelling themselves - and that was just inkling. Were was my certainty to support the new image? And where were my emotions, with their brushes to bring color to life?"
          Born in the interior of the state of Paraná, Cassia Cassitas accumulated various degrees throughout her carreer in Information Technology. The author of three novels, her texts convey ideas accumulated amidst the smell of coffee plantations, shoe factories, and the technology of the 20th century. These texts deal with life-altering episodes, in a path lit by a harmonious blend of memories and imagination.
PRICE: $12.29 for paperback.

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