Yesterday I quoted Dan Walsh – “Anyone can, but not everyone needs to.”
Neil Peart absolutely needed to. If the start of this story was made into a film you’d think it well over the top. That a man can lose his daughter, his wife and finally his dog and keep breathing is an achievement in itself. Peart decides that merely existing is not enough and he needs to take to the road in search of a reason to live.
I like Rush, mainly because one of the better student bands when I was at uni did a mean cover of Spirit of Radio, but I wouldn’t call myself a fan. In the spirit of journalistic inquiry I checked in with the biggest Rush fan I know to ask whether fandom added any further layers of appreciation to the book.
He said “the book is more about grief, and terrible loss, than either Rush or biking. But he does capture a lot of the solitary peace that biking brings me.
“By detaching you, riding somehow gives your brain space to work things out in the background. And I think that was what it did for him. It took him 55,000 miles.”
It’s a long time since I read this and it’s not a book I come back to often in the same way that I come back to Zen or to Che. I think it’s partly the point made by @keepof4worlds above – it’s a book about grief and sometimes it feels just so very intrusive, to be peering into a soul bereft, even if you have been invited to.