Books by Joe Kurmaskie

Released: May 1, 2003

"A little affected, but you have to admire Kurmaskie for following the Irish exhortation 'on yere bike'—shorthand for 'get off your arse and on with your life.'"
Another series of wayward bicycling adventures from the author of Metal Cowboy (1999), as spirited, searching, and hungry for laughs as ever. Read full book review >
METAL COWBOY by Joe Kurmaskie
Released: Sept. 10, 1999

Fleet lessons, experiences, and absurdities, gathered from the saddle of a bicycle and mined for every identifiable nugget of humor or worthy apologue, from newcomer Kurmaskie. "I'm just a Metal Cowboy piecing together the puzzle of life in my own time and way." What that means for Kurmaskie is tooling about on his bicycle, far and wide, keeping his eye skinned for the everyday encounters that, cobbled together, amount to a worldview. Occasionally these tales are tips for cyclers, such as what to do when teenagers target you for sport, or when dogs do the same, or weather, or geese. But most of the material demonstrates that the pace of a bicycle allows you to tap the fortuities of chance (e.g., joining up with someone willing to share knowledge of secret pictographs) and the pleasures to be had by throwing caution to the wind and volunteering to be the scarecrow on a bike in a small town parade, and why sometimes it's the oblique vision of the eccentrics out there that puts things into meaningful perspective. Each of the 40 chapters is a self-contained unit, and they are best read in controlled doses, for while the episodes have a sort of Andy of Mayberry charm, a piece of homespun with common decency at its center and framed in drollery, the tone can cloy. Kurmaskie is also overly fond of trotting out a little hackneyed something for the reader's moral edification ("You give and take in this life, and you don't ask for anything back"). Worse still are the ones that sound like fortune cookies: "Each day starts with the promise of what all of us might become in the time which remains." The metal cowboy is on a slow bike to nowhere in particular, and when he's not dispensing homilies, he knows how to enjoy the simple, immediate pleasures of two-wheeled freedom. Read full book review >