A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar by Suzanne Joinson, narrated by Susan Duerden
Published in audio by Tantor Audio, published in print by Bloomsbury USA
From the publisher:
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.
Thoughts on the story:
I wish that the entirety of A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar had simply been Eva’s story. Frieda’s story fails to be very compelling. It does connect with Eva’s storyline, but not in a way that adds very much to the novel as a whole. Primarily I just found it distracting.
Thoughts on the audio production:
Duerden does a fairly good job with the narration overall, varying voices so it was clear who was talking. In particular she differentiates well between the two different time periods. However, the voice she uses for Eva’s point of view was almost syrupy sweet and grated on my nerves, which made the book all the more difficult to listen to. For more, see my review for Audiofile Magazine.
I can’t say that I was a particular fan of the story or the narration. I’d personally skip this one, although I’d be willing to listen to Susan Duerden again as she was technically good, I just didn’t like the choice she made for Eva’s point of view.
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