A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar Summary and Reviews

A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar

A Novel

by Suzanne Joinson

A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar by Suzanne Joinson X
A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar by Suzanne Joinson
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  • Published in USA  May 2012
    384 pages
    Genre: Novels

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About this book

Book Summary

It is 1923. Evangeline (Eva) English and her sister Lizzie are missionaries heading for the ancient Silk Road city of Kashgar. Though Lizzie is on fire with her religious calling, Eva's motives are not quite as noble, but with her green bicycle and a commission from a publisher to write A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar, she is ready for adventure.

In present day London, a young woman, Frieda, returns from a long trip abroad to find a man sleeping outside her front door. She gives him a blanket and a pillow, and in the morning finds the bedding neatly folded and an exquisite drawing of a bird with a long feathery tail, some delicate Arabic writing, and a boat made out of a flock of seagulls on her wall. Tayeb, in flight from his Yemeni homeland, befriends Frieda and, when she learns she has inherited the contents of an apartment belonging to a dead woman she has never heard of, they embark on an unexpected journey together.

A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar explores the fault lines that appear when traditions from different parts of an increasingly globalized world crash into one other. Beautifully written, and peopled by a cast of unforgettable characters, the novel interweaves the stories of Frieda and Eva, gradually revealing the links between them and the ways in which they each challenge and negotiate the restrictions of their societies as they make their hard-won way toward home. A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar marks the debut of a wonderfully talented new writer.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Beautifully written in language too taut, piercing, and smartly observed to be called lyrical, this atmospheric first novel immediately engages, nicely reminding us that odd twists of fate sometimes aren't that odd. Highly recommended." - Library Journal

"Present and past meld into an exploration of conflicting traditions in an impressive debut that shifts smoothly between 1920s Turkestan and present-day England." - Publishers Weekly

"This complex and involving historical novel examines the idea of home, the consequences of exile, the connection between mother and daughter, and the power dynamics of sexual relationships." - Booklist

"An astonishing, epic colonial-era travel book combined with a modern meditation on where we belong and how we connect in the world - I could not put it down." - Helen Simonson, author of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

"Eccentric and full of twists and surprises and in the end very touching. Above all bold and different and extremely readable." - Katharine McMahon, author of The Rose of Sebastopol

"A haunting, original and beautifully written tale that conveys a sense of profound alienation, and of other realities." - Paul Torday, bestselling author of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

"A heartfelt story about adventurous women and a fascinating history of life in a remote corner of the Silk Road in the early twentieth century; utterly beguiling." - Rebecca Stott, author of Darwin's Ghosts

"Richly imaginative and daring in the way it weaves together time-scapes and landscapes." - Gillian Beer

"A wonderfully evocative, fresh, and impressive debut. I admired its scope and its unexpectedness." - Jill Dawson, author of The Great Lover

This information about A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, 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 the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media 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

Robin (Corpus Christi, TX)

A Lady Cyclists Guide to Kasgar
The descriptive imagery in this novel is almost lyrical. The eccentricities of the female characters and their individual motivations for rejecting traditional lives are finely drawn. The two distinct and separate tales in this novel ultimately connect in a surprising and unexpected way.

Sue Z. (Mooresville, NC)

A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar
I found this book to be complex and quite fascinating. The characters evolve in the most interesting ways especially the main character, the lady cyclist. She grows from being quite naive, to having the will to carry on despite sometimes overwhelming odds, while still keeping a touching and sometimes irritating vulnerability. I think the author has perfectly captured the essence of British short-sighted attitude of the the Twenties, when the feeling was that Britain and all things British were superior to anything else to be found anywhere

Anita S. (Santa Barbara, CA)

Fascinating
I loved this book. The stories of the two main women were so fascinating and interesting that I could hardly put the book down. Both women were adventurous and yet were trying to find a place for themselves in the world. As I read the book, I knew that eventually they would be connected in some way which only added to the story. This book is so well written and I felt I could relate to these women. All the characters were well defined and the incidents and descriptions of the locales were intriguing, especially in Kashgar. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a great book. I think book clubs would have a lot to discuss with this book.

Mary R. (San Jose, CA)

An Expert Weaving of Two Tales
'A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar' is a compelling novel that weaves two stories that take place in separate times and places, but come together in a surprising and expertly conceived twist. The ‘local color’ is exceptional and the character development is realistic. This will be a great book for book groups – with the issues of parenting, the work of missionaries, war-torn countries, justice, and even self-mutilation in the name of mystical awareness. This is an extremely enjoyable read.

Margaret B. (Pompano Beach, FL)

A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar by Suzanne Joinson
When three missionary ladies traveling saw a young girl in the middle of the road having a baby, they stopped and helped her. There were other travelers who stood and watched but did not help. The mother died and the missionary ladies were accused of killing the mother. The author describes every scene so vividly that I felt I was there. With the descriptions of the food, such as nutneg and cottage cheese sandwiches, I was glad I wasn't. The book gives wonderful description what life was like in1923 in Kashgar.

Grace W. (Corona del Mar, CA)

Amazing women in amazing times
Suzanne Joinson's novel is engaging, weaving an adroitly balanced story set in the time frames of 1923 and today. The book grabbed me at the first page and kept my interest throughout. The pacing between the two time periods was exceptionally well done. The characters and locations, as well as the tensions between the Moslem and Christian worlds, came to life on the page. My only let-down was that the book ended. Ms. Joinson left me wanting to read her next book.

...18 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Suzanne Joinson Author Biography

Suzanne Joinson is an award-winning writer of fiction and non-fiction whose work has appeared in, among other places, the New York Times, Vogue UK, Aeon, Lonely Planet collections of travel writing and the Independent on Sunday. Her first novel, A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar (2012) was translated into 16 languages and was a National Bestseller. She lives in Sussex, England.

Link to Suzanne Joinson's Website

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