A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar
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"She who succeeds in gaining the mastery of the bicycle will gain the mastery of life." — Francis Willard In the 1890s, America was in the midst of a cycling craze, much to the annoyance of horse-drawn carriage drivers. With the invention of the safety bicycle, more and more women took up this new form of transportation. No longer was cycling the domain of the Wheelmen and their high-wheel b… (more)
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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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