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 Suzanne Joinson, a wonderfully talented new writer.
©2012 Suzanne Joinson (P)2012 Tantor
"Beautifully written in language too taut, piercing, and smartly observed to be called lyrical, this atmospheric first novel immediately engages, nicely reminding us that odd twists of fate sometimes aren't that odd." (Library Journal)
I don't review every book--only books I feel strongly about--hence the many 4-5 star vs 1-2 star reviews. Just my opinions--hope they help.
I don't know what I was thinking when I bought this book. I guess it was because I like riding a bicycle and I've actually been to Kashgar. So I had interests in common with the book--right? My own stupid fault. There are many terrible warning reviews here and I took a chance anyway. I thought--really how bad can it be??
This is without a doubt the weirdest and most extreme narration that I have ever experienced in a recorded book. I am not just talking about digital downloads from Audible since 2005--I am including my entire history of listening to recorded books on CDs and cassette tapes. That is quite a feat--literally thousands of books and this takes the cake. Just plain terrible.
It really is a shame because the story itself has some potential in a quirky way. Not enough however to keep me listening past chapter 12 (I can't believe I made it that far) out of 40(!!!). What I would like to know is what were these production people thinking??? Mind boggling.
Normally I am the guy who writes a review defending a book that other people gave a poor review, but this time the shoe is on the other foot. I admit, I didn’t do my research before I started this book. I just read the title and thought, “I like bicycles, travel logs, the Silk Road, Ladies, and even a little Chic-Lit, I will give this book a try!” Sadly, there is almost none of those things in this book. A better title would have been "All Relationships Suck; No Really, They Do." Reading this book, I am not sure if there is anything Suzanne Joinson likes. I am also not sure if she was just trying to shock the reader or if someone should sit her down with a drink and tell her ‘things aren’t that bad.’ It’s not even that Ms Joinson lacks talent, or even that the idea is bad, this book just doesn’t work.
The narrator, Susan Duerden, also did a dismal job, which is sad because she has a nice voice. My biggest problem is that she put inflection at the end of 99.9% of the sentences. It was like she was asking me questions for ten and a half hours instead of telling me a story. I have to admit that she either got better after about 5 hours or I just got used to it, but I don’t want to waste the time to go back and check.
I tried, I really did. I tried to listen to this book but the narrator is so bad that you can't concentrate on the book. What I thought might be an interesting book, turned into a sad, sad attempt to get past the poor narration of the story. One wonders if the publishing company did not have enough money to hire a good narrator, or perhaps, there was a female relative in need of a job? Ms. Duerden spends half her time whispering the words and half her time making the story sound like a very poor attempt at an epic poem- complete with pregnant pauses at the end of each phrase. And she literally sings the last word in each phrase, single syllable or not, with each word having two sing-song notes in it. Enough. I couldn't get through the first chapter and that is a shame because the plot and synopsis sounded very interesting. A complete waste of a credit.
Anyone, even Yoda would have been a better narrator.
Who knows if the book had redeeming qualities, as I could not get past the awful narration.
Sorry, Suzanne Joinson! I am sure that you spent an extraordinary amount of time writing this book and when it went audio, I bet you were thrilled. Who knew it would sink like the Titanic simply because of the narration.
yes, great story
terrible monotone performance, the worst narrator I have heard on audible
yes, despite the terrible narration
definitely worth listening too, despite the narration
I was warned. Oh, how bad could it be? It's bad. Really bad. The performance by Susan Duerdan was spectacularly....bad. Listen to the sample and multiply it by 100 on the annoyance scale. I didn't like any of the characters, but I really think that it was due to Duerdan's performance rather than the characters themselves. Trust me--read the book.
She spoke as if she was talking to a servant. Her voice rose ON EVERY SENTENCE!
This title had a dreamy, watercolor-like quality. It follows two strong women living one hundred years apart, both British but spending much of their lives in far-off locales under challenging conditions. I didn't expect to like this title as much as I did. After hearing it I now want to visit China. A bonus: I could listen to Susan Duerden's gorgeous voice all day long.
This is a "Top Ten"!
I found the story and characters absolutely spellbinding. The crescendo of suspense is perfectly modulated, and the author's imagery is nothing short of gorgeous.
Eva. Another reviewer complained about the narration. I thought the narration was pitch perfect, a very feminine voice for a very feminine story. Every character has his or her own voice. The listener will notice changes in diction between them.
Spoiler alert .............. Millicent. What a tragically awful and misguided person!
Please give this beautiful book a listen!
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