‘The Race of the Patient Motorcyclists’ by Lydia Davis

In this race, it is not the swiftest who wins, but the slowest. At first it would seem easy to be the slowest of the motorcyclists, but it is not easy, because it is not in the temperament of a motorcyclist to be slow or patient.

This slip of a story may seem like nothing more than whimsy. And yet like so much of Davis’ work, the image of the motorcyclists crouched on their powerful motors, seemingly motionless as the sun moves over their heads, concentrating with Zen-like stillness and intensity on moving as slowly as they can, will stay with you for years.

First published in Almost No Memory, FSG, 1997; collected in The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis, FSG/Hamish Hamilton, 2009

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