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The New Bicycle

Excerpt from The New Bicycle. Forthcoming from Clavis Publishing, 24 pp., November 2023.

Recently Daniel Barenboim, the Israeli conductor, stated that, “Music is one way to bring people together—we are all equal human beings who deserve peace, freedom, and happiness.” Of course, we could say not only music, but all of the arts. Dialectically we read the Palestinian American scholar, Edward Said, “Where cruelty and injustice are concerned, hopelessness is submission, which I believe is immoral.” Does art stop the hopelessness? The act of creating or encountering something beautiful?

During these times of war and uncertainty, what is the role of the artist and the arts? Judith Butler asks to realize a world of freedom and equality, non-violence and justice. She knows what she envisions may sound naïve or impossible to some, but she wildly holds on to it—to the hope that the world will deliver the promise of its humanity, “for this, we need our poets and our dreamers, the untamed fools....”

Our poets and dreamers, the untamed fools who dare to imagine untold worlds...

The Massachusetts Review does not usually publish children’s literature. However, The New Bicycle by Darcy Day Zoells reminds us that we share a common humanity. This gentle and beautiful children’s book is not only for the young; it alights a smile in all. Like so many before, the child traveller does not cease from exploration. And at the end of all of her exploring, she returns home, and knows it anew. Is there a dream bigger than returning home? With a knowledge that we are also all the same?

As the world splinters and divides, perhaps we need to remember what we share, and that beauty brings us closer to the just—whether it be encountering a flower, a late Beethoven quartet, a Raga Darbari, or a children’s book.

—Tanya Jayani Fernando


The New Bicycle












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