Sunday 1 April 2012

A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar

Finished March 30
A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar by Suzanne Joinson
This novel moves back and forth between 1923 Kashgar and the Silk Road and the present day in England. In 1923 Evangeline has signed up as a missionary for the group Missionary Order of the Steadfast Face, along with her sister Elizabeth. They are led by Millicent, a forthright woman. Eva has brought her bicycle with her and hopes to write a book about her experiences. Elizabeth is an avid photographer and has brought her camera, but is often lost in a dreamy world of her own. When the small group of women encounter a girl in childbirth they try to help and end up being accused of a crime. Eva is asked to take care of the infant, and grows attached to her. But there is unrest in the area, and the women's position grows increasingly precarious. Eva must find the strength to survive and adjust to the new environment. Her bicycle has given her some independence and she is reluctant to leave it behind.
In the present day, a young man from Yemen, in England illegally is targeted after being seen drawing intricate pictures of birds on a wall. He leaves his home and in his wanderings encounters Frieda, a young woman working to understand young people from a variety of emerging nations. Frieda is going through change in her personal life and when she finds herself in charge of the personal possessions of a woman who has died, she struggles to make sense of them and find the connection between her and the woman, Irene.
I loved the bird theme that came through the novel and the sense of other. A wonderful read that takes you to another world.