Kirkus STARRED review.
Essay in LitHub.
A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar
The Observer Paperback of the week. 'radiates a brave and terrible loneliness'
New York Times - 'an impressive debut, its prose as lucid and deep as a mountain lake.'
‘This is a sprightly, engaging and lovingly written book’ Catherine Taylor, Guardian, 28 July 2012
Irish Independent - 'Recycling the past in a tour de force', July 21 2012
National Geographic Traveler Magazine - Book of the Month, Don George, June 2012
Denver Post - 'A promising debut.'
'VERDICT 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. Highly recommended’ Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal
‘Present and past meld into an exploration of conflicting traditions in an impressive debut ... An intriguing window into the difficulties of those who attempt to reach across cultural barriers’ Publishers Weekly, 6 February 2012
‘Having traveled to Asia and the Middle East while working for the British council, Joinson knows what it’s like to be a stranger far from home. And she’s captured that feeling, often poetically, in her debut, which cuts between two timelines.’ Entertainment Weekly, 25 May 2012
‘Charming’ O: The Oprah Magazine
‘What makes A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar successful is that within this entertaining tale of adventure and betrayal lie deeper themes about connections between generations and nationalities’ Bust, July 2012
‘Joinson possesses a touching, joyful quality that somehow suits the fragile, elusive nature of her characters’ Rachel Hore, Independent on Sunday, 1 July 2012
‘An impressive debut exploring themes of freedom in present-day London and 1920s China. From the far reaches of the colonial Silk Route to the streets of modern London, there’s a brilliant sense of place in this original debut’ Eithne Farry, Marie Claire, 1 August 2012
‘This is an impressive debut, its prose as lucid and deep as a mountain lake. Joinson also has a gift for evoking finely calibrated shifts of feeling … Joinson illuminates her narrative with a playfulness that borders on the Gothic’ Sara Wheeler, Scotsman, 7 July 2012
‘It takes less than a page for Suzanne Joinson to seize your attention ... there is so much here that is wonderful: the author’s crisp, uncluttered story-telling, her graceful prose, and her ability to inhabit the character of a young woman in 1924 and a contemporary young woman with equal depth and ease. It is an impressive first novel.’ Boston Globe, 3 July 2012
‘An affecting tale of inheritance and belonging’ ****Woman’s Own, 16 July 2012
‘Suzanne Joinson’s bold and elegant first novel sheds new light on the women who travelled thousands of miles, risking life and limb, to win souls for Christ ... Joinson’s depiction of the continuing cultural, sexual and spiritual conflicts between East and West is provocative and powerful. The present is as richly depicted as the past, with Frieda’s professional life and family background as significant as Evangeline’s. An ambitious, accomplished debut.’ Michael Arditti, Daily Mail, 13 July 2012
‘The title of Suzanne Joinson’s first novel promises much and delivers ... Joinson’s characterisation is finely drawn and brings Kashgar vividly to life – it’s a debut novel of note.' ****Sarah Crowden, The Lady, 13 July 2012
‘Two stories are told in Suzanne Joinson’s complex, luminous debut about unconventional women ... With great delicacy, Joinson conveys wonder and horror, both past and present, as the scraps of stories from this cast of wanderers build into an enthralling tale, packed with vivid impressions and full of surprises.' **** Tina Jackson, Metro, 18 July 2012
‘I was blown away by this debut. It’s amazing. Clever, exotic, compulsive, intensely moving.’ Sue Leonard, Irish Examiner, 4 August 2012
‘An ambitious debut … With intriguing characters and exotic locations, A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar is a compelling and likeable tale … not only a smartly paced adventure story but also a careful meditation on the myriad ways in which loving, and failing, our children are often tragically and inextricably linked.’ Beth Jones, Sunday Telegraph, 19 August 2012
‘Impressive debut novel … The link between Evengeline English and Frieda becomes easy to discern as the novel progresses, but what Joinson is really interested in is culture clash.... This parallel use of the emigrant/immigrant experience is enlightening an full of dramatic potential … a novel that very effectively draws you in … a subtle and pleasing story.’ Lesley McDowell, Scotland on Sunday, 19 August 2012
'Intriguing characters breathe life into this novel about the love of travel, culture, kinship, loss and cycling. A great debut from Joinson and a must-read for winter holidays. Read it if you enjoy the work of Ann Patchett and Barbara Kingsolver.’ Sunday Mail Brisbane, 26 August 2012
‘The plot is dense and rich, and the lush descriptive passages are the highlight the novel. Suzanne Joinson adds a strong layer of symbolism with her vivid images of birds… Readers who are looking for more than a simple tale will love this book. It takes some work to join up the dots, but when you do, there is an immense sense of satisfaction. Taking a journey with these complex characters is a richly rewarding experience’ Sunshine Coast Daily, 26 August 2012
#5 Independent BESTSELLERS, The Courier Mail, 25 August 2012
‘As with many well-written novels that follow two timelines in parallel, this is a rich and rewarding read in which the two plots reflect each other and amplify some of the ideas and concerns common to both’ ‘Pick of the Week’, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, 31 August 2012
‘A heartfelt tale and fascinating history of life in the remote and ancient city [of Kashgar]. A deep and touching debut’ GRAZIA (Australia), September 2012
‘A story about two very different women’ Voyeur, August 2012
'The opening of this book is nothing if not dramatic! ... With a gripping narrative and two powerful stories, Joinson creates a novel with considerable impact. ****' Lifestyle, 1 September 2012
‘Joinson has penned an impressive debut… It is a novel of beguiling beauty, suspense and mystery… Joinson touches on themes of religious fanaticism and hypocrisy, deception and sexual secrets, throwing in additional riffs on ornithological and bike-riding lore, photography, calligraphy, cooking and yoga without missing a single melodic beat of this superbly paced, beautifully written novel. It's with an elegant, feather-light flourish of her own pen too, that Joinson unspools decades of mystery and deception in the novel's haunting denouement. This is an utterly irresistible novel that demands to be read more than once’ Bron Sibree, The West Australian, 1 August 2012
‘Two parallel narratives snake and twist with a surprising conclusion’ Vogue US, September 2012
‘In this touching debut novel, two women share a connection. Eva is a missionary (and keen cyclist) who writes of pedalling through 1920s Kashgar, while Frieda, a modem-day Londoner, inherits her journal’ InStyle (Australia), September 2012
‘Brilliantly descriptive, this is a book to delight in and savour’ Hardback Book of the Month, Choice, August 2012
‘An unusual yet beautifully subtle novel that will appeal to readers looking for something a bit different on the literary fiction front… a complex, multi-layered novel. It's slow in the sense that you savour it as you read; you swirl the words around in your mouth like a good wine, tasting the meaning… the combination of strong themes, rich imagery and skilful plotting has, in my eyes, created a terrific debut novel… for those who love to set a book down feeling satisfied deep, deep down, I think it's a winner’ Monique Mulligan, blog ‘Write Notes Reviews’
‘A gem of a read! Joinson skillfully creates subtleties in characters that foster intrigue and instead of dumping information on the reader there’s space for the reader to make up their own mind about the characters and the issues raised. Highly recommended read!’ Jayne Fordham, blog ‘The Australian Bookshelf’, 30 August 2012
‘Suzanne Joinson beckons readers with lush, evocative prose, yet never lets her gift for poetry interfere with a good story—or, to be more precise, two good stories…. Readers of A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar are certain to enjoy a literary journey that is not unlike the best bicycle ride—invigorating and challenging, with plenty of hills, vales and scenic views to keep one’s blood pumping and spirits soaring’ Bookpage, 28 August 2012
‘How delicious - a novel you want to eat. That’s the way I feel about Suzanne Joinson’s travel adventure of lost souls …. [a] magical novel….You’ll be pleasantly surprised and rewarded by Joinson’s rich narrative and find it impossible to put down’ Charles L. Larson, Counter Punch, 15 July 2012
‘A compelling tale of East meets West’ Linda Rimel, The Roanoke Times, 18 July 2012
‘Joinson spins her haunting tale with prose as colourful as the exotic landscapes she describes. Echoes of The Poisonwood Bible and Heart Of Darkness resonate from the pages… this tale of restlessness and cultural identity makes for a thoroughly satisfying read’ Good Reading, September 2012
‘Joinson has penned an impressive debut novel. It is a novel of beguiling beauty, suspense and mystery that straddles time, cultures and geographies … Birds are a potent motif in this hauntingly original exploration of the nature of belonging and dislocation, freedom and self-discovery... It's with an elegant, feather-light flourish of her own pen, that Joinson unspools decades of mystery and deception in the novel's haunting denouement. This is an utterly irresistible novel that demands to be read more than once’ The Canberra Times, 6 October 2012
‘A compelling and magnificent reminder of how we repeat family history, but sometimes just skip a generation’ The Australian Women’s Weekly, November 2012
‘Full of twists and surprises… very touching’ Western Times Bathurst, 8 November 2012
Some Q&As about A Lady Cyclist...
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