Issue #154: Who Cycles Into Our Valley

One Story’s new issue, Benjamin Solomon’s “Who Cycles Into Our Valley,” tells a tale that is disarmingly simple: a father and son, traveling in Spain, ride a tandem bicycle up a hill, change places, and then ride it down the hill. This extremely basic plot provides a base for a complex inner narrative, that winds its way through the minds of these two men. The emotions and thoughts of the father and son begin to blend with the landscape and, eventually, with each other’s memories. Read Benjamin Solomon’s Q&A with us to learn how he handled the different points of view and soldiered through many drafts (55!) to complete this finely balanced work. Our One Story staff (who pulled this story from the slush) all have favorite parts of “Who Cycles Into Our Valley,” but for me the penultimate moment was the changing of the guard–when the son steps forward and takes his father’s place at the front of the bicycle. This simple act act echoes thousands of father/son stories, all the way back to the ancient myths. I found myself thinking of Icarus and Daedalus’s fateful escape from Crete as the bicycle speeds down the hill, father and son taking wing together. A moment, however brief, of flight.

5 thoughts on “Issue #154: Who Cycles Into Our Valley

  1. I’m looking forward to this new story by Benjamin, sounds intriguing!
    Just curious Hannah, as you mention this was pulled from the slush, what percent (on average) of One Story stories are, as compared to solicited manuscripts?

  2. So happy this is out already!! Love it, and that 6 years and 55 drafts were rewarded.

  3. Hello Brian,

    It differs year to year, but One Story generally pulls most stories from the slush–about 75%.

    Cheers,
    Hannah

  4. Just got my copy in the mail today. It’s well worth the six years the author spent on the piece. Bravo!

  5. Really nice story. Nothing happens but you don’t mind. Just enough present action with tons of great flashback. Gentle voice. Nothing feels stretched in this. Feels like it came out just like this (55 drafts or otherwise). My favorite One Story in a while.

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