A debut that Neil Gaiman calls "Glorious", The Girl in the Road describes a future that is culturally lush, technologically slick, and emotionally wrenching.
In a world where global power has shifted east and revolution is brewing, two women embark on vastly different journeys - each harrowing and urgent and wholly unexpected.
When Meena finds snakebites on her chest, her worst fears are realized: Someone is after her and she must flee India. As she plots her exit, she learns of The Trail, an energy-harvesting bridge spanning the Arabian Sea that has become a refuge for itinerant vagabonds and loners on the run. This is her salvation. Slipping out in the cover of night, with a knapsack full of supplies, including a pozit GPS system, a scroll reader, and a sealable waterproof pod, she sets off for Ethiopia, the place of her birth.
Meanwhile, Mariama, a young girl in Africa, is forced to flee her home. She joins up with a caravan of misfits heading across the Sahara. She is taken in by Yemaya, a beautiful and enigmatic woman who becomes her protector and confidante. They are trying to reach Addis Abba, Ethiopia, a metropolis swirling with radical politics and rich culture. But Mariama will find a city far different than she ever expected - romantic, turbulent, and dangerous.
As one heads east and the other west, Meena and Mariama's fates are linked in ways that are mysterious and shocking to the core.
Written with stunning clarity, deep emotion, and a futuristic flair, The Girl in the Road is an artistic feat of the first order: vividly imagined, artfully told, and profoundly moving.
Editors Select, May 2014 - The Girl in the Road is unlike anything I have read or listened to in recent memory. This is not an easy-breeze beach book—it’s a novel that takes work but the pay-off is well worth the effort. The beginning is disorienting but beautiful, so I pushed through soaking in the lush language and becoming acquainted with the foreign and futuristic world author Monica Byrne has created. There are two storylines — Meena’s takes place in an India of the future with her journey taking her to Ethiopia, and Mariama’s quest brings her across Saharan Africa at a completely different historical time. A thoroughly unique blend literary fiction and science fiction with gadgets and scientific achievements not yet discovered but oddly imaginable. The Girl in the Road explores, illuminates, and challenges our understanding of culture, sexuality, spirituality, and the environment. It's not at all preachy, but it’s also completely unapologetic. While this book won’t appeal to everyone, but is undoubtedly an impressive debut from an author I can’t wait to hear more from. Tricia, Audible Editor
"Stunning.... More than a few surprises await Meena and Mariama and the reader as story lines converge in a surprising, gratifying climax." (Booklist)
"Spectacular and intriguing. . . . Enthralling on many levels.... The incorporation of evolving views of gender.... propel this novel into the stratosphere of artistic brilliance." (Library Journal)
"The most inventive tale to come along in years.... The writing is often brilliant, as Byrne paints wholly believable pictures of worlds and cultures most Westerners will never know.... Engrossing and enjoyable." (Kirkus)
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