Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar by Suzanne Joinson

I received a galley of this novel from NetGalley for review. This in no way affected my opinions.

Told in dual time lines, A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar, tells the story of two women: Evangeline in 1923, and Frieda in the present day. At first, it's unclear how the two women are connected, but that eventually comes to light slowly as the story unfolds.

Eva lies to become a missionary, using it as a cover to write a book: A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar. Armed with her bicycle and notebook, Eva is ready to change her world. However, the story opens with things taking a wrong turn for Eva and her compatriots, and she finds herself figuring out ways to keep herself and her sister Lizze alive.

In the present day, Frieda returns home from months away to find she has inherited an apartment and its belongings from a woman who has passed away – a women, she has never met. She finds unexpected help from Tayeb, a man who can't go back to Yemen, his homeland. Finding him on her doorstep one night, Frieda hands him a blanket and a pillow and thus starts an interesting relationship.

The story went back and forth between 1923 and the present day, and I didn't find it disrupted at all, even though I was still wondering how these women were connected, almost halfway through the book. The differences in the two women were evident. Eva was a young woman who had goals, and knew what she wanted out of life, and went for it. Frieda was doing a job she wanted, but in reality, the life she created for herself was probably her rebelling against the life she grew up with, with her parents. It wasn't until the end of the book that I think Frieda started to figure out who she really was.

I skimmed a few reviews before reading this, and saw some people had issue with the ending, and felt that the last part of the book felt rushed. So, I prepared myself, but I didn't have a problem with any of it. For me, the ending was fine. I'm not a huge fan of the definite 'The End' endings, because, in reality, life goes on, even after the last word on the page.


Audra said...

Hrm -- sadly, this was a DNF for me as I just could get past Frieda -- she was so unappealing! The whole contemporary story line bored me -- I'm such a grinch these days!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this lovely review. I have been planning on reading this one for awhile but decided there was not enough time to get it from NG. I will be happy to make room for it now in my reading schedule.

Susan said...

I bought this book the last time I was in the bookstore and can't wait to get to it. Great review!