Julie is young, impressionable and passionate. However, she lives
at a most passionless time. Against the backdrop of the 'Emergency'
at home, the chaos in Europe, the Catholic state and her own
Protestant up-bringing she searches for freedom. To be free was to
be an outcast, and as such, she becomes imprisoned in a deep chaos
of her own. Girl on a Bicycle is Leland Bardwell's first novel and
it introduced several of the themes that continue to resurface in
Bardwell's subsequent writing. Dislocation, anti-authoritarian
tendencies, sexual curiosity tempered by the stringencies of the
day, and the confusion and castigation of the 'misfit' all merge in
this coming-of-age novel. This book also serves to illuminate a
society that is coming of age and is pushing against its own
boundaries of independence, religion and new found nation identity
in a Europe torn apart by war. Booker prize-nominated author,
Anthony Burgess has described it as 'a literary gem'.
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