Neil Peart – The Masked Rider – A Review

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Neil Peart’s first book details his adventures while bicycling across west Africa. This story includes many colorful characters (the author for one), many laughs, many pitfalls, and a wonderful painting, with words, of the incredible beauty and often poverty of Africa.

The Masked Rider: Cycling in West Africa is a must read. It is a history lesson, a social commentary, a comedy, drama, and documentary all in one. Neil Peart, drummer and lyricist for he Canadian rock trio Rush, shows that he can truly captivate and charm his reader with prose as well as poetry. We follow Neil on his journey across west Africa, on bicycle, with a group of other cyclists. There are many roadside curiosities, children yelling as he passed, various colorful vehicles, and the drunk guard with a gun. Neil’s vivid descriptions of the countryside make you feel as if you were there. I can still visually recall many moments from this book.

I also appreciate his sharing of the various drums found along the way. On one occasion we seem to sit along side as he shares his experience of watching a group performing a traditional dance, and listens to the great rhythms created by several styles of African drums.

We also learn of the pitfalls of enjoying a fresh salad, rinsed with local water.

I enjoyed the Masked Rider: Cycling in West Africa. This is a book I intend to read again, and again. There’s great historical information on many of the areas Neil visits, and great insight into West African customs. Overall a rewarding, and enjoyable read.

write by Aylmer

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