A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar By Suzanne Joinson @SPL: FIC Joins
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.
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.
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.
– Shauna Thomas, librarian