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A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar

A Novel
Joinson, Suzanne (Book - 2012 )
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar
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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.
Authors: Joinson, Suzanne
Title: A lady cyclist's guide to Kashgar
a novel
Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury, 2012.
Edition: 1st U.S. ed.
Characteristics: 374 p. : map ; 25 cm.
ISBN: 1608198111
9781608198115
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Feb 08, 2014
  • ellidonna rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

I enjoyed the prose and development of characters in the historical part of the story. However, more could have been done on developing Frieda in the modern part of the book for the reader. Also, the ending was rather abrupt, making the book seem incomplete. It seemed like the author either ran out of time, or just wanted to be done with it.

Sep 03, 2013
  • Nilz rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Linwood Library

Mar 04, 2013
  • BTVS rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

What a disappointment. Three women set out for adventure and to convert the natives in Arabia. The older strident missionary is also a lesbian who seems to keep her female converts enthralled, even to their deaths. The Cyclist adopts a newborn when the 14y/o mother dies giving birth in the sand. This baby becomes Irene the grandmother of the modern protagonist, Frieda, who inherits Irene's council apartment and a live owl. Frieda finds her hippy mother to ask her about Irene, gets no satisfaction then seems to take off to live with a homeless Turkish artist stranded in UK. What a mishmash plot and a waste of good reading time. Frieda is poorly developed, we don't understand her motivations or her strength and in the end we don't care what happened to her. We have no idea how the old Irene got to England and why she had an owl for a pet. Reading this book is like wading through molasses and the ending is unsatisfactory for all that work.

Dec 07, 2012
  • azor rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

Bit of a let down. It seemed like it was going to be so good, but did not fulfill my expectations.

Aug 11, 2012
  • queensgirl1963 rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

I did not finish this one. I found it hard to follow the two parallel stories. Don't bother with this one.

Aug 04, 2012
  • bridge1 rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Interesting concept but the story didn't live up to the hype. I didn't finish it.

Welcome to Kashgar, oasis on the edge of the Takla Makan desert, 1923. Adventurous Evangeline English has faked finding God so she can travel with missionaries and escape dreary Britain. While giving the appearance of working to save locals’ souls, she secretly drafts a women’s travel guide about cycling in far-flung places. However, regional cultural and religious tensions are exacerbated by the presence of the missionaries, and Eva soon finds herself fleeing for her life through the Takla Makan desert, an abandoned infant in tow.

Meanwhile, in present day London, England, Frieda has just returned from a work assignment in the Middle East to find a death notice for a relative she’s never known, named Irene Guy. A grown child of hippies who severed their roots when they moved to the commune, Frieda’s been content to lose her family as she builds a more stable, rational life for herself. But as she investigates her connection to Irene, Frieda’s forced to confront her past and her family history.
The two plots dovetail in spare, striking language to reveal a family left in tatters by casual experiments with colonialism, spirituality and love. It's a beautifully crafted story, sensually told, and deeply evocative of the places its characters inhabit. A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar is very highly recommended to anyone seeking a fast-paced summer read with substance, brains and style.

Jul 23, 2012
  • AnneDromeda rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Welcome to Kashgar, oasis on the edge of the Takla Makan desert, 1923. Adventurous Evangeline English has faked finding God so she can travel with missionaries and escape dreary Britain. While giving the appearance of working to save locals’ souls, she secretly drafts a women’s travel guide about cycling in far-flung places. However, regional cultural and religious tensions are exacerbated by the presence of the missionaries, and Eva soon finds herself fleeing for her life through the Takla Makan desert, an abandoned infant in tow. <br />

Meanwhile, in present day London, England, Frieda has just returned from a work assignment in the Middle East to find a death notice for a relative she’s never known, named Irene Guy. A grown child of hippies who severed their roots when they moved to the commune, Frieda’s been content to lose her family as she builds a more stable, rational life for herself. But as she investigates her connection to Irene, Frieda’s forced to confront her past and her family history. <br />

The two plots dovetail in spare, striking language to reveal a family left in tatters by casual experiments with colonialism, spirituality and love. It's a beautifully crafted story, sensually told, and deeply evocative of the places its characters inhabit. *A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar* is very highly recommended to anyone seeking a fast-paced summer read with substance, brains and style.<br />

Jul 21, 2012
  • maven rated this: 1.5 stars out of 5.

It just isn't a very well-written book. The premise is unique, but neither story -- from the past or modern day -- was made interesting by the author. So I quit before I got too far in.

Apr 15, 2012
  • Cdnbookworm rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This novel moves back and forth between 1923 Kashgar and the Silk Road and the present day in England. In 1923 Evangeline has signed up as a missionary for the group Missionary Order of the Steadfast Face, along with her sister Elizabeth. They are led by Millicent, a forthright woman. Eva has brought her bicycle with her and hopes to write a book about her experiences. Elizabeth is an avid photographer and has brought her camera, but is often lost in a dreamy world of her own. When the small group of women encounter a girl in childbirth they try to help and end up being accused of a crime. Eva is asked to take care of the infant, and grows attached to her. But there is unrest in the area, and the women's position grows increasingly precarious. Eva must find the strength to survive and adjust to the new environment. Her bicycle has given her some independence and she is reluctant to leave it behind.
In the present day, a young man from Yemen, in England illegally is targeted after being seen drawing intricate pictures of birds on a wall. He leaves his home and in his wanderings encounters Frieda, a young woman working to understand young people from a variety of emerging nations. Frieda is going through change in her personal life and when she finds herself in charge of the personal possessions of a woman who has died, she struggles to make sense of them and find the connection between her and the woman, Irene.
I loved the bird theme that came through the novel and the sense of other. A wonderful read that takes you to another world.

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Jul 23, 2012
  • AnneDromeda rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Welcome to Kashgar, oasis on the edge of the Takla Makan desert, 1923. Adventurous Evangeline English has faked finding God so she can travel with missionaries and escape dreary Britain. While giving the appearance of working to save locals’ souls, she secretly drafts a women’s travel guide about cycling in far-flung places. However, regional cultural and religious tensions are exacerbated by the presence of the missionaries, and Eva soon finds herself fleeing for her life through the Takla Makan desert, an abandoned infant in tow. <br />

Meanwhile, in present day London, England, Frieda has just returned from a work assignment in the Middle East to find a death notice for a relative she’s never known, named Irene Guy. A grown child of hippies who severed their roots when they moved to the commune, Frieda’s been content to lose her family as she builds a more stable, rational life for herself. But as she investigates her connection to Irene, Frieda’s forced to confront her past and her family history. <br />

The two plots dovetail in spare, striking language to reveal a family left in tatters by casual experiments with colonialism, spirituality and love. It's a beautifully crafted story, sensually told, and deeply evocative of the places its characters inhabit. *A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar* is very highly recommended to anyone seeking a fast-paced summer read with substance, brains and style.<br />

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app05 Version sidamo (sidamo) Last updated 2014/09/17 15:16