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The Kurdish Bike: Book summary and reviews of The Kurdish Bike by Alesa Lightbourne

The Kurdish Bike

A Novel

by Alesa Lightbourne

The Kurdish Bike by Alesa Lightbourne X
The Kurdish Bike by Alesa Lightbourne
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About this book

Book Summary

The Kurdish Bike is gripping, tender, wry and compassionate -- an eye-opener into little-known customs in one of the world's most explosive regions -- a novel of love, betrayal and redemption.

Gold Medal: Best Regional Fiction e-Book. Independent Publishers Book Awards 2017
First Place: Best Fiction of 2017. North Street Book Contest

"Courageous teachers wanted to rebuild war-torn nation."

With her marriage over and life gone flat, Theresa Turner responds to an online ad, and lands at a school in Kurdish Iraq. Befriended by a widow in a nearby village, Theresa is embroiled in the joys and agonies of traditional Kurds, especially the women who survived Saddam's genocide only to be crippled by age-old restrictions, brutality and honor killings. Theresa's greatest challenge will be balancing respect for cultural values while trying to introduce more enlightened attitudes toward women -- at the same time seeking new spiritual dimensions within herself.

Alesa Lightbourne loves to chat with book clubs by Skype or, if in Central Coast California, in person. Find out more about this book at kurdishbike.com.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"As a debut, The Kurdish Bike underscores success at many levels. First, the prose is polished and rings through the ears like music. The author has the rare gift of weaving national conflict into the lives of individuals. And then there is the biting sense of humor, the ability to portray hope through simple relationships, to find meaning in the will to survive each day at a time. The characters are well grounded, sculpted to reflect the social landscapes from which they sprang. In spite of the powerful conflict that permeates every layer of this book, the unspoken words and the silent cries, there is a current of positive energy communicated through laughter, love, and friendship. The novel is beautiful in a haunting sort of way." - San Francisco Book Review, Romauld Dzemo

"The story is admirable for its characters, for they are not only well-thought out, but also reflective of a country whose people are torn by a decade-long war. The characters of Ara, Bezma, Pat, Seema, and especially Theresa herself are well-developed and are a mirror to the courage and strength shown by women in times of distress. Alesa Lightbourne has shown excellent penmanship writing this novel based on her personal experience and shows how involved she was in the lives of the people she taught and met in Iraq. If you are interested in knowing about the lives, cultures, and hardships faced by people in the Middle East, this book is a must-read." - Manhattan Book Review

This information about The Kurdish Bike was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

Write your own review

Janine S

Delightful and enchanting
Loved this book. What a delightful story filled with interesting and endearing characters. Beautifully written, this book lets you enter a woman's journey teaching in Kurdish Iraq as she becomes part of an extended family in the village close to her school and works to make her students enjoy learning, in spite of the school's attempts at conformity in teaching. You just grow to enjoy Theresa Turner's story and all the people she meets and interacts with along the way. In fact I felt sorry the book had to end. I highly recommend.

Betty Taylor

The Land "Older than the flood"
I loved this book. Books having to do with the Middle East always interest me. This is a region that the author says is “older than the flood.” It is a land that has been ruled at one time or another by the Assyrians, the Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Parthians, Romans, Islamic Arabs, Mongols, and Ottomans. I was really enthralled with this part of the book.

The protagonist Theresa is an American teacher working in Iraqi Kurdistan. Unlike the other expat teachers assigned to the school, Theresa yearns to get out and see the landscape and meet the people. Her purchase of a bicycle gives her the freedom to explore. She meets a Kurdish family that becomes her “village family.”

I also enjoyed the portions of the book that addresses some of the differences between the Arab and Kurdish cultures. The story addresses some traditions that have been banned in most of the world. However, some the rural tribal groups still follow their traditional teachings.

I felt like I had met the characters through Ms. Lightbourne’s thorough character development. Most of the story is based on the author’s actual experiences in the region. I can envision Theresa riding along on her bike; Ara and Theresa dancing and laughing; Theresa’s frustration with the love-smitten Bezma. I wanted to remain right there among these people with such open hearts. They knew how to appreciate the small things in life.

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Author Information

Alesa Lightbourne

Alesa Lightbourne has been an English professor and teacher in six countries, lived on a sailboat, dined with Bedouins, and written for Fortune 50 companies. She lives with her husband close to Monterey Bay in California, where she loves to boogie board and (of course) ride a bicycle.

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