Laura's Reviews > A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar

A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar by Suzanne Joinson
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's review
Feb 12, 2012

really liked it
Read from January 31 to February 10, 2012

I enjoyed this novel courtesy of the publisher via Netgalley. Thanks!
This novel alternates between two times and places, 1920's Kashgar in Central Asia and current-day London, It's not til about half way through the book that the reader begins to figure out how the two stories relate. During the first half of the book I was impatient with the dual storyline because I found the historical part of the novel much more compelling. It is supposedly from the notes Evangeline English took during her travels as a missionary. She plans to write a book about cycling through the region, but as the book begins she and her companions come across a dying young woman. They help her give birth and then end up caring for her baby. Joinson paints a vivid picture of a region I knew little about. I found myself heading to the web to learn more about the geopolitical issues of the region after I finished the book, but that might just be me! The modern part of the book concerns a young woman named Frieda who is a bit burned out from constantly traveling the world with some NGO. She learns about a relative she didn't know she had and befriends an undocumented immigrant named Tayeb. As the story progesses we learn about Frieda's very unconventional childhood and gradually the two stories come together.
One thing I liked about this novel was that it was more subtle than other books that take place in foreign lands in times of trouble. Although some bad things do happen, it's not one awful event after another. I felt like I could get to know the characters without wincing and worrying about war crimes to come. I definitely recommend it!
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