Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar, Suzanne Joinson

I unhappily report that even Bicycling for Ladies WITH HINTS AS TO THE ART OF WHEELING- ADVICE TO BEGINNERS-DRESS-CARE OF THE BICYCLE- MECHANICS- TRAINING- EXERCISES, ETC. ETC. cannot assist me in this current predicament: we find ourselves in a situation. I may as well begin with the bones.

A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar is two stories, alternating. In 1923, Evangeline (Eva) is traveling with her sister Lizzie and another woman named Millicent. They are missionaries, and have arrived in the city of Kashgar. Lizzie and Millicent are both very enthusiastic about their religious duties, but Eva is not. She comes with a green bicycle and a commission from a publisher to write A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar.

The second story is in present-day England. Frieda, a young woman, comes home from one of her numerous international trips to find a man sleeping outside her door. She gives him a blanket and pillow and in the morning finds a beautiful drawing of a bird. She befriends the Yemenese Tayeb, and when she inherits the contents of an apartment belonging to a woman she never heard of, they "embark on an unexpected journey together."

There's a sense of religious fanaticism in Eva's story; Millicent is consumed by her desire to convert, and Lizzie is drawn in as well. I think Joinson portrayed that aspect really well.

I enjoyed both stories, though I think I preferred Eva's story. Both Eva and Frieda are intelligent, independent-minded young women, and I admired them. The writing style wasn't anything special, though there were lots of flashbacks as Eva, Frieda, and Tayeb remembered something about their past. I enjoyed this novel, and I'm glad I checked it out at the library. For me, it wouldn't be worth buying.

Read A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar
  • if you are interested in Kashgar
  • if you like fiction with two interwoven stories
  • if you like books set in London
370 pages.
Very Good! I would recommend this book!

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