"'You've got to get above things to see them clearly. You've got to see how things fit together, and the further away you can get, the clearer things will be.'
"Leon's father viewed the world from his air traffic control tower, but it is from under the velodrome that young Leon sees his father and the bikes tumbling down to the bottom, the riders helplessly tangled and twisted with their machines.
"Even on their long journey North, the velodrome is never far from Leon's consciousness. The sturdy Sam Ballard is a constant reminder as he pedals his racing bike furiously behind the car on its long journey, as is Eric, crippled in the fatal crash at the story's start. Eric collects facts, and the debate between facts and history, history versus possibilities, recollection versus reality, is at the heart of both the journey and this intriguing novel.
"Spare, compressed and powerful, The Velodrome is a remarkable first novel. Shortlisted for the Australian/Vogel Literary Award in 1987, it marks the emergence of a young Australian writer of unusual talent."
"Written in an almost elliptical, curiously haunting prose, it is an impressive short novel and a fine debut." - Laurie Clancy, Australian Book Review
"Davison's first novel is surprisingly compressed, pared down to its bare bones, full of hints and possibilities." - Juliette Wansborough, West Australian
"His novel is meticulously structured, concisely written and rich in ideality and symbol." - Katherine England, Advertiser
Under the velodrome was one of those places I wasn't supposed to go, and I wouldn't have gone there if it hadn't been for Jody lifting her skirt and telling me don't be scared. I was scared though, of Jody and of my father who I knew was somewhere above me, whirling around the track on rubber tyres. He was always there, pedalling away and watching as he went round and round and round.
When he wasn't on the track he was in the glass tower where he worked, looking down on things and guiding the areoplanes in to land. From where he sat everything was laid out like a map so that he could see where things were going, all so clear and easy, and I knew that if I came out the back door of our house he could see me. Even though the tower was on the far side of the velodrome, away from the houses, he could see me and knew what I was up to. That's what he was like, my father.
From the Allen and Unwin paperback edition, 1989.
This novel was shortlisted for the 1987 Australian/Vogel Award.
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Last modified: January 12, 2006.