Evangeline and her sister Lizzie are on their way to the
Silk Road and Kashgar as lady missionaries under the supervision of Millicent,
a zealous woman intent on converting the locals. Evangeline brought along
her bicycle, a novelty in 1923. While Lizzie is a true believer,
Evangeline is more interested in seeing the world. Soon the women run
afoul of local custom and law. In current day Frieda is confused by a letter
informing her she is the sole heir of a stranger. She has one week to clean
out the mystery person’s flat. Aided by Tayeb, a homeless refugee, she
delves into the accumulation of a lifetime looking for a
connection. This lively story has strong female characters; it is
an interesting look at the sometimes volatile intersection of differing
June 2012 Indie Next List
“Two worlds collide with the discovery of a mysterious inheritance. On one side of the globe in the 1920s, three young women embark on an adventure along the famous Silk Road. On the other side of the world in present day London, two young strangers bond over a beautiful illustration with a history. Decades of family tradition and mystery become unraveled as the stories come crashing together.”
— Morgan Kiedrowski, Next Chapter Bookshop, Mequon, WI
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.
About the Author
Suzanne Joinson works in the literature department of the British Council, and regularly travels widely across the Middle East, North Africa, China and Europe. In 2007 she won the New Writing Ventures Award for Creative Non-Fiction for 'Laila Ahmed'. She is studying for a PhD in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London, and lives by the sea on the South Coast of England.