A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar: A Novel

A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar: A Novel

by Suzanne Joinson


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781608198337
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 04/30/2013
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 594,273
Product dimensions: 5.78(w) x 8.08(h) x 1.02(d)

About the Author

Suzanne Joinson works in the literature department of the British Council, specializing in the Middle East, North Africa, and China, and she is the Arts Council-funded writer-in-residence at Shoreham Airport in the UK. Her personal blog can be found online at http://delicatelittlebirds.wordpress.com, and she tweets at @suzyjoinson. Visit her Web site at www.suzannejoinson.com.

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A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar: A Novel 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
lsmeadows More than 1 year ago
I wanted to give this book 4 stars, but just couldn't quite do it. A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar is the debut book for author Suzanne Joinson and as such it is a pretty good effort. The book is told from two perspectives, one in the early 1900s and the other in current time. At first, this made the book seem very disjointed to me, especially since there seemed to be two stories going on in the present day, but as the story unfolded, it became clear that the three stories were related and would ultimately join into one story. From the start, I enjoyed the current day story of Frieda, a Londoner who travels extensively in the Middle East. Unfortunately, I found the story from the earlier time period a bit disjointed and hard to follow. The earlier story centers around three women missionaries who are living in Kashgar. As it begins, they find themselves in an unusual and dangerous situation, which is only made worse by their attempts at conversion. The plot set up has all the requirements of a great story about a little known time and place. Unfortunately, while the story is good, it does not deliver the hoped for greatness. To begin with, the characters of the missionaries, although quirky, seem somewhat lackluster. In addition, what I felt would be the most interesting part of the story was totally glossed over. It says something that the most enjoyable part of the book was the completely ordinary story of Frieda in current day London. I would have loved to have seen the author right a more compelling story that focused on the quirks and relationships of the missionary women and/or the situation that bound them to Kashgar. All in all a good book, but it could have been great.
l_manning More than 1 year ago
Eva is going on a grand adventure. With her sister Lizzie and her acquaintance Millicent, they are traveling to Kashgar as missionaries. It's a treacherous road for 3 women in the 1920's, but Eva is determined to make the best of it. While she is traveling, Eva is writing a guide for cycling to Kashgar. Back in the present, Freida is a world traveler. She loves the freedom of being able to leave and experience so many wonderful places. Soon though, she meets Tayeb, a man trying to avoid deportation to his native Yemen. She also learns that she is responsible for an apartment full of stuff left to her by a person she has never met. The tales of Freida, Tayeb, and Eva all intermingle as they each work their way through their separate adventures. This book wasn't at all what I expected. There are two main stories, and it is unclear how they are related for quite a bit. I loved the way they tied in, but I wish the author had dropped a few more clues along the way. I had kind of figured it out, but the payoff felt a little late for me. I loved the feel of the book though. Eva is basically using the mission and missionaries for a chance to see the world. I thought she was a great character. Freida and Tayeb were a bit more difficult to get a feeling for. I also felt like their story had slightly less resolution too. I was very interested in their stories though. I was really drawn into this book, and there were some great surprises too. Millicent was perhaps the most interesting person in the book. I really wanted some more back story on her, although it really wouldn't have fit in the context of the story. When things were finally brought together in the end, it was nice to see it all make sense. Overall I found this to be a really absorbing and fascinating story. Galley provided for review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An unusual story and a good first effort.  I look forward to more from this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Maudlin! Boring! This book drones on at a snails pace. There is no intimate knowledge of the characters. There is no excitement or anticipation in the plot. Just a boring factual re-telling of a story chronicled day-by-day. This could have been so much better. There is no historical context for this novel. As it appears in this book, a group of three women missionaries embark on an ill-advised mission in the late 1800's and the results are as expected, no-so-good. DUH!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Three story lines are the in theme now and seldom work too well in the number of pages allowed a good try why not just write three books with a tie in between the three? page counter
hollysing on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Romance, exoticism and travel team up in this unusual debut.The story is set in the stunning remote Muslim area along an old China silk route. Millicent is a domineering missionary out to convert local Muslims to Christianity. Her sister, Evangeline, the narrator and keeper of a diary, has no interest in establishing a mission. Her secret passion is to write a travel guide about the Kashgar desert. Another sister, Lizzie, a rather incidental character, worships Millicent much to Evangeline¿s dismay. The story fluctuates between 1923 and the contemporary life of Frieda, a London resident who is an Arabic youth specialist. She is a communiqué of the Islamic youth to a European ¿think tank.¿ She becomes involved on several levels with a young Yemeni man. The plot eventually links them back to Evangeline.Evangeline evidently has a charming sense of humor, but that aspect of her personality is minimally developed. This reader wanted to hear more from the cyclist who noted in her diary, ¿Difficulties to overcome: There is the mounting difficulty and the steering difficulty and the pedaling difficulty; and then there is the general difficulty of doing all these things together.¿ This is not chick lit, but a study of opposing cultures and religious fanaticism. The title is a fetching hook, but the lack of development of the travel guide was a disappointment. The main theme is the failed relationships of women, but it is wrapped up with a bow of originality and alluring description.The Amazon Vine program graciously provided the review copy.
JackieBlem on LibraryThing 7 months ago
This debut novel has a lot going on. There are two stories. The first is set in 1923 and involves a lady missionary who has found a disciple in Eva's sister Lizzie. Concerned about her epileptic sister, and not wanting to miss out on an adventure, Eva joins the duo as they head to Turkestan, to help with the missionary work (though not really a believer) and to write a travel book about the area. That book is named the same as this novel. The journey is hard, and things go horribly wrong for the women when they stop to help a very young outcast girl who was in labor at the side of the road. The girl dies and the women are put under arrest for her death, as well as given the task of taking care of the new baby. The area at the time is rife with unrest thanks to the very uneasy cohabitation of the Muslim and the Chinese in the area. Political unrest, religion, women's issues and sexuality make for tinder for a fire just waiting to explode.The second story is told in the modern day about an independent young woman, Frieda, who travels the world yet still feels a bit lost. One night she finds a man sleeping outside her door. A gentle soul, she brings him a blanket and a pillow, thus striking up a very interesting relationship that deepens as Frieda is informed of an inheritance from a woman she has never heard of. The true magic of this book is that these two narratives slowly twine together creating a story that is far larger than its parts. The subtle and very literary writing is simply brilliant. This is an astonishing debut of a writer who is about to become very, very well known.
Beamis12 on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Actually two stories, the first in 1923 in Turkestan and the second in the present. The first story started quickly, with Millicent, an dictatorial missionary and two sisters stranded in Kasgar. The second story started out slower but I ended up liking it more. Loved the history, the clashes between Christians and Muslims as well as the political climate under a Chinese ruled Turkistan. Frieda and Tayeb were my favorite characters and both stories highlighted the importance of family history as well as trying to break culture barriers when you are a stranger to that country. Beautifully written this was a most interesting and different read. ARC from NetGalley.
bookwoman247 on LibraryThing 7 months ago
This is the dual story of two missionaries in 1920's China and of a friendship that develops between woman in current-day London and an illegal immigrant from Yemen whom she finds sleeping near her doorstep.The writing was elegant, and this kind of story is my cup of tea, so I loved it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I kept reading this, but I don't know why! I just coulfnt "get" the story..
donnasreview More than 1 year ago
It is so enjoyable to read a novel that pulls you in starting at the first page. This book delivered plus more. Excellent writing, no editing or e-reader problems. Just sit back and enjoy. You won't be disappointed!
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