When Alec Stern arrives in Japan, he discovers a land of opportunity. For only in Tokyo could an impressionable young man fresh out of college find, in one stroke, a new job, a new family, and a society that lavishes attention on Japanese-speaking gaijin. Yet, even as Alec claims a place in this new world, he is haunted by memories of the one he left behinda world once infinitely secure but which disintegrated with the breakup of his parents' marriage.
In his incandescently observed first novel, John Burnham Schwartz introduces readers to one of the most appealing protagonists in contemporary fiction while enchanting them with the keenness of his eye and the aptness of his voice. Through its exquisitely rendered scenesa fishing trip of Zen-like serenity; a night at a sex club where giggling businessmen dive into the actionand vividly imagined charactersthe laughing mother who taught Alec to ride a bicycle; the beautiful sad Japanese woman who teaches him how to loveBicycle Days surprises, moves, and enlightens us as very few books do.
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"Has freshness and energy...announces the debut of a bright new voice in fiction."
The New York Times
"Graceful...reminiscent of Fitzgerald...[It] leaves us holding our breath for more."
San Francisco Chronicle
"Luminous...linger[s] after the story is finished."
The New York Times Book Review
"Schwartz subtly evokes the stirrings and upheavals of a culture, and a person, in transition."
Detroit Free Press
"Finely and carefully written, with a sweet innocence and a naïve sense of discovery."
"Graceful...absorbing...Schwartz's writing is unpretentious and accessible. The flashbacks to Alec's youth are smoothly integrated yet have the gritty feel of emotions honestly remembered."
St. Louis Dispatch Book Review
"A funny, painful and wonderful coming-of-age story."
The San Diego Union-Tribune
"Schwartz's sentences are as elegant and effortless as we'll find at this post-Cheever end of the century."
Los Angeles Times
"Has authority and refreshing charm."
"John Burnham Schwartz is a wonderful stylist whose prose reveals a sheen of beauty beneath everyday life."
The New York Observer
"John Burnham Schwartz is a good writer. Bicycle Days is a good book. Get a copy and read it."
Gannett News Service