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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"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
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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.
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