April 2019 - The Stolen Bicycle – Wu Ming-yi
  The Stolen Bicycle – Wu Ming-yi
Book Group 1 – April 26,2019

Our April book club read was The Stolen Bicycle by Taiwanese author Wu Ming-yi.  This book weaves fiction and non-fiction stories for the reader to explore how the narrator, Ch’eng, is trying to find what happened to his disappeared father by way of tracking down his missing bicycle.  The book is intertwined with “bicycle note” chapters with lovely illustrations enlightening the reader to finite details on bicycles, their parts, and the fine art of authentic restoration.  Whilst the mystery of where his father went is not solved, the author takes us on a journey through several characters' unique and profound stories of the times.  What is very appropriate for our location is the stories about using bicycles as means of war transport during the 2nd World War in Malaya by the Japanese.

The response from the group was mixed, a few liked it but it seemed no one absolutely loved it or absolutely hated it.  We agreed we wanted to find out what happened in the end.  There was some confusion on where chapters were going - why was so much space devoted to animals and the zoo and the intense details?  It spurred a great conversation on collecting things - who likes to keep things paired down and who has so much in their storage unit!  As expats, we all could identify with one of these thought groups.  We enjoyed the blurred reality between fiction and non-fiction but just thought some parts got too lengthy.  I would say this book was one of those “in the middle” reads, but certainly worth picking up if you have an affinity towards bicycles.  We did all agree we enjoyed reading a book from a Taiwanese author as that does not come up frequently on the reading list.

Meredith Tomkovitch