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A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar: A…
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A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar: A Novel (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Suzanne Joinson

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3233034,306 (3.45)14
Member:whidbeysue
Title:A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar: A Novel
Authors:Suzanne Joinson
Info:Bloomsbury USA (2012), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar by Suzanne Joinson (2012)

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Like a wily veteran writer, first-time author Suzanne Joinson weaves two equally compelling narratives, separated by 90 years, and by subtle stages reveals to us the relation between the two. In "A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar" Ms. Joinson appeals to our lust for far-off places, for epic travels and sacrifices, for convulsive moments in history, and satisfies – oh, so graciously – our desire for first-rate, lovely fiction.

In one narrative strand we follow the life of Eva, a missionary traveling in 1923 from England to the remote desert in which China, Turkmenistan, and the Soviet Union all border each other. Arriving in the city then known as Kashgar (present-day Kashi, of China), she and her two fellow missionaries fall immediately into turmoil with the native Mohammedan population. These misadventures lead to estrangement, imprisonment, violence, and death. The second story exhibits the troubles of anxious and rootless Frieda, of present-day London. She is also a professional traveler to the Middle East, and is on a quest of her own, no less daunting in its way. Each narrative is as interesting and compulsively readable as the other.

For debut fiction, this work’s maturity, subtlety, compassion, and sophistication strike me as astonishing. Western women sallying into the Moslem world, encountering Moslem men and mores, the demands of family and faith, how the world overflows with possibility – Ms. Joinson treats these themes with balance and a highly engaging consideration for her readers. She likewise yokes the two stories together in a full and timely way, with satisfying results all the way around.

This novel presents the undeniable case: here is a remarkable authorial talent, who has hit her stride with her very first entry. Take it up!

http://bassoprofundo1.blogspot.com/2014/05/a-lady-cyclists-guide-to-kashgar-by.h... ( )
  LukeS | May 22, 2014 |
What a story! Beautifully read. The language is like poetry. This reader had just the right touch. I loved the intertwining story lines and the wonderful description. Suzanne Joinson brought these worlds into my living room. I kept expecting to see drawings of birds on my wall.

I received this book as a galley from Netgalley.com. I also received an audio edition from Tantor Media. The book was so good that I read it both ways. The reader of the Tantor edition was superb for this book. I did want to read the print copy as well because the language is so beautiful I just wanted to savor it. I'll stop now and go for a bike ride. ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
Loved this book - flipping between 1920's Chinese missionary excursion and contemporary England. Combining a personal journey, road trip and a great story that moves quickly and introduces lots of interesting reveals. None of the central characters are conformist or predictable but it's not quirky. ( )
  tandah | Jan 3, 2014 |
I loved this book and the interwoving stories. I would have loved to know more about Irene Guy though and how she knew Frieda, also why her and Frieda had never met. Apart from that, I thought this was a lovely book, well worth reading.
1 vote Debspage | Jul 1, 2013 |
I really enjoyed this book, a story in 2 parts really. Eva and her sister Lizzie who are trying to establish a mission in Kashgar in the 1920s. They arrive to the scene of a young girl of 10 or 11 giving birth under a tree. Things go from bad to worse when the european women are accused of murdering the girl and are held under house arrest, with the girls baby.
The other half of the story involves Frieda, in the present day, who has mysteriously been left the contents of a flat in England, thousands of miles from Kashgar, from someone she has no knowledge of! You are left wondering how on earth these 2 stories become one and the book has you guessing right up until the point it is revealed!
A charming if unsettling book looking at the relationships between dramtically differing cultures.
A really fascinating read. ( )
1 vote Glorybe1 | May 1, 2013 |
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Book description
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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In 1923, devout Eva English and her not-so-religious sister Lizzie embark on a journey to be missionaries in the ancient Silk Road city of Kashgar.

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