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Bernard Chambaz

Author of Petite philosophie du vélo

47 Works 146 Members 6 Reviews

About the Author

Includes the name: Chambaz Bernard

Works by Bernard Chambaz

Petite philosophie du vélo (2008) 13 copies, 1 review
750cc Down Lincoln Highway (2018) — Author — 9 copies, 2 reviews
Quelle histoire ! (2001) 9 copies
Martin cet été (1999) 6 copies, 1 review
Plonger (2011) 5 copies, 1 review
La Peau du dos (2022) 5 copies
Tropique du valium (1978) 4 copies
Vladimir Vladimirovitch (2015) 4 copies
Les vingt glorieuses (2007) 4 copies
Un siècle d'humanité (2004) 4 copies
Le pardon aux oiseaux (1998) 4 copies
L'Orgue de Barbarie (1995) 4 copies
Un autre Éden: roman (2019) 3 copies
17 (2017) 3 copies
Caro carissimo Puccini (2012) 3 copies
L'Arbre de vies (1994) 3 copies
Un autre Eden (2022) 2 copies
Ghetto (2010) 2 copies
A mon tour (2003) 2 copies
L'arbre de vies (2019) 1 copy
Marathon(s) 42km195 (2017) 1 copy
Oeil noir (1999) 1 copy


Common Knowledge




It seems everyone wants to do American travelogues along Route 66, so kudos to this French author for using a road less taken (in literature, anyway). The Lincoln Highway was one of the first transcontinental automobile routes and today basically consists of Route 30 from Pennsylvania to Wyoming and Interstate 80 on to San Francisco.

At first glance, this looks like a memoir, but I believe it to be fiction or possibly a dramatization based on some actual events. There is no indication anywhere on the book, but at one point the narrator notes he was born in 1976, while the author Bernard Chambaz was actually born in 1949. (Maybe the illustrator is the basis for the story? I can't find his birth year.)

Regardless, it's dull. Our French gentleman gets abruptly dumped via text and in his heartbroken daze rents a motorcycle (a 750cc Honda Shadow) to ride across the country and see the real America. Most of his stops get only one or two pages. Usually we are offered observations like how there's nothing African about Zulu, Indiana, except a Black man sweeping outside a church and how he didn't get to see any river rapids in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, but his disappointment "doesn't diminish the pleasure of having passed by there." Sure.

In this ode to the road and masculinity, his heartache does not keep him from turning his male gaze on several women and hitting on some of them. The point of this thin tome seems to be the healing power of travel and the other fish in the sea.

You'd expect the art to at least carry the load in a travelogue, but it is not very detailed and barely transmits a sense of place or even the motorcycle. And the characters' noses are horrible.
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villemezbrown | 1 other review | Jul 20, 2020 |
750cc Down Lincoln Highway by Bernard Chambaz is a graphic novel of unexpected adventure. Chambaz is a French novelist, historian, and poet, winner of several French literary prizes including the prestigious Goncourt for his first novel, L'Arbre de vies.

What is a runner to do when right before the start of a marathon he gets a breakup text instead of well-wishing? He goes to a bar and drinks bourbon. A discussion begins with another patron and the Lincoln Highway becomes the subject of conversation. This leads our author to rent a motorcycle and ride the highway from New York to California. The general feeling as someone who rides is that the author may be new to riding. He refers to his Honda Shadow as a 750cc motorcycle, which it is, but displacement is usually used to describe sportbikes and not cruisers. A Honda Shadow is a Shadow and those in the know understand its a750. Riding in the rain also seems to be a new experience for Chamaz.

What makes this worth reading is the separation of life experiences. Riding to forget his ex-girlfriend or at least come to terms with the breakup. Second, it is separating her from his running. And finally, it is about the ride and the other riders one meets and places that are seen. Runners have their cliques and groupings but people on motorcycles are a closer group, strangers on the road are quick to bond and share stories and help. The road itself is a much different place on a motorcycle, It is not the same road that one experiences in a car. A good book on life, people, and healing.
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evil_cyclist | 1 other review | Mar 16, 2020 |
This one couldn't be more French. As well as being a novelist and teacher, Chambaz is a keen road-biker, who has completed the amateur versions of the Tour de France, Giro, Vuelta, etc., and ridden coast-to-coast across the USA. For him, "le vélo" is not about getting to where you need to be (that menial process he dismisses as "la bicyclette"), rather, it's the means to engage in an epic struggle to overcome physical and psychological weaknesses and the obstacles that nature throws in your path (mountains, weather, your competitors...) and complete the challenge you have set yourself.
Chambaz analyses the concepts and processes involved in his kind of cycling in a series of about a hundred short, semi-frivolous essays, in which he cleverly mixes together philosophical ideas originating from celebrated riders with approaches to cycling taken from great philosophers. Heidegger, Kant, Plato and the rest can all be found riding with him in the péloton. The technique is a bit like Barthes' essay on the Tour de France as a version of the Iliad, but expanded into a complete philosophical scheme.
An entertaining little book to keep by your bedside and dip into, but probably not something you would want to read from cover to cover.
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thorold | Aug 28, 2017 |



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