It took me a while to get into this. Mainly because I am over “clever” novels where there are several stories running at the same time in different places and time periods, with the narrative structure of chapters alternating between the different narratives. And you just know the stories are linked, and not just as parallel stories on similar themes or outlooks. “Amazingly” there is a connection that comes out towards the end. How unexpected!
“Doesn’t anyone write simple stories anymore?” I cried out several times in the first 100 pages.
But that’s just me. I know this narrative device is a current fashion, and I found the serendipity equally annoying in Eliot Perlman’s The Street Sweeper.
The narrative structure aside, I actually really enjoyed Suzanne Joinson’s A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar. (And I enjoyed and would strongly recommend The Street Sweeper too.)
Joinson’s novel is very unique – the characters, the settings and the story. I found it very original and very beautifully written. In both time periods (current London and 1923 Kashgar) the central character share a hesitancy of character and a need to seek out something – some adventure and sense of belonging.
This book does what I love books to do: take me to a different world and give me a different perspective on the world – one that I may not share or agree with. I especially enjoy books with sweet, though not necessarily all totally resolved,endings.