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The Amazing Story of the Man Who Cycled from…
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The Amazing Story of the Man Who Cycled from India to Europe for Love (2013)

by Per J. Andersson, Per J Andersson (Author)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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» See also 4 mentions

English (10)  French (1)  German (1)  All languages (12)
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
In writing you want the reader to be grabbed within the first few sentences so they want to keep reading. It's pretty impressive when that intrigue happens with the title of the book before the reader even gets the cover open. A man rode a bicycle from India to Europe for love? Now that's a story I'd like to read. Unfortunately that's not exactly the bulk of the story told in Per J. Andersson's piece of long form travel journalism/history/biography here. Instead it's a blend of Indian history with a heavy emphasis on the caste system and the plight of the Dalits (untouchables) through the eyes of one man who eventually followed the woman he loved to Sweden.

Padyumna Kumar (known as PK) was born in a small village in India. His family were Dalits and this fact colored every day of his life, from school to worship to others' treatment of him in general. Despite the many, many road blocks placed in his path, PK was intelligent, artistic, and determined so he moved to New Delhi in search of a better life and perhaps also in search of the woman mentioned in the prophecy made when he was just a baby that declared he would marry a woman from far away, outside the country. Andersson tells of PK's life in the capital, occasionally veering from it to tell of a young Swedish girl, Lotta, who had a fascination with and a pull towards India. The bulk of the story, however, is not Lotta's life, it is PK's, which weaves in the injustice and inequity in the social system in India but also shows the incredible experiences and helping hands that PK found in progressive and friendly people as he eked out a living in New Delhi and as he eventually sets off on his bicycle to reunite with Lotta.

The book has a long, slow build-up that made it unfortunately easy to put aside in lieu of other reading. It also seems to be unable to decide if it is the story of a poor Dalit artist in a slowly changing India or a love story or a history or a travelogue. It has elements of all of these, leaving the book to feel unfocused and clumsy. Perhaps this is a function of the translation but I suspect not. This is a true story and should have all the nuance of a good non-fiction work but it doesn't really. PK is the best fleshed out while Lotta lacks the depth to be the real person she is and their love is presented as almost fait accompli simply because it's fated. It is supposed to be such a strong love that PK chooses to hop on his bicycle to find her many thousands of miles away and yet there's little given to the reader to actually show how that love came about. There is a lot of the book to get through before PK starts out on his crazy journey but the actual journey and his life in Sweden with Lotta are given fairly short shrift in the end. I don't know whether I wanted a more sweeping love story or a deeper history or a more detailed travelogue but that is perhaps the biggest problem with the book: it gives you just a tiny bit of each and none of them stand on their own as complete in the end. ( )
  whitreidtan | Nov 27, 2018 |
Part travel book, part history of India, part dating and love story, wonderfully varied and interesting book. ( )
  NickRussell | Jan 29, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A good book but too easy to put down. It took a long time to complete. ( )
  cwlongshot | Dec 16, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is the fictionalized version of the true story of a young man, PK, who had a very rough life in India as a member of the untouchable caste, and who fell in love with a Swedish girl he met while she visited India. I found all the background of his life in India was fascinating, and how the official policy today is that the caste system is abolished but in fact, this evil system is very much alive. A palm leaf prophesy as PK grew up in a remote poor village predicted his marriage to Lotta, which seemed wildly unlikely at the time. As a young man PK gained some fame in India for the portraits he painted on the streets, and which was how he supported himself. On his long arduous bike ride to Sweden his ability to draw portraits earned him money and got him out of difficulties with the law and with obtaining visas. Will he complete his journey and win the heart of Lotta? Read the book if you want to find out. ( )
  hangen | Jun 16, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received a free copy of the ARC of this book through the LTER members give-away. I therefore can only base my opinion on the ARC I read. The first thing to note is that I really missed having a map of the location and traveling route that is set mainly in India. I also noted that at the end of the book is a long section for a "photo album" - this was also blank in the ARC. I wish publishers would try to include these items in the previews that the want rated.
The book itself wasn't too bad, but also not very exciting. The fact that it is based on a true story is very nice. However, it was more than halfway through the book before the main character (PK) actually started his travels on his bike (which he only used part of the way!) from India to Sweden. That was not what I expected from a book with the above title! Would I buy it? Probably not! Would I watch the movie? Probably! ( )
  yukon92 | Apr 2, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Per J. Anderssonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Andersson, Per JAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Dahmann, Susannesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holmwood, AnnaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Seit dem Tag, an dem ich in einem Dorf im Dschungel geboren wurde, ist mein Leben vorbestimmt.
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