Felsher’s debut novel tells the story of one man’s search for his stolen bike during a chaotic summer of 2010.
Just before he’s set to begin work at an investment firm, Rusty is living in a small town in Connecticut, nursing a crush on a woman who works at the local bookstore and preparing for a bicycle race—that is, until his bike gets stolen by someone in a white pickup truck. The bike was a gift from his father and holds great sentimental value, and he’ll do anything to get it back. His quest eventually leads him to meet Jade, a local bartender, and her married boyfriend, Richard, a man of great wealth who may be able to help Rusty with his new career. Rusty also asks out Rebecca, the bookshop woman, and their flirtation becomes something more substantial. On top of all this, Rusty must deal with his former roommate, now a novelist, who takes a break from his hedonistic pursuits to offer Rusty advice, such as, “When you just do things, knowing that everything is true within yourself and you’re merely a character within God’s novel, you have to step aside and ask yourself what kind of character you want to be.” Felsher often writes with exuberance and verve in this debut. However, readers won’t usually have as much fun as the author does, as the characters’ behaviors are inconsistent and often confusing; Rusty, in particular, has cloudy motivations that seem to shift from scene to scene, and much of the plot seems propelled by his inability to stay on task. Rusty’s narration is also unpleasantly mawkish in a way that betrays no self-awareness: “She looked up at me with a lonely tear sliding down her cheek. I nodded, recognizing that she was the most loving and fragile woman I had come across in quite some time.” Overall, the book has all the ingredients of a fun romp, but it never quite coalesces into one.
A short, light, but messy tale of self-discovery.