Waking up in a futuristic Mumbai with five snake bites, Meena is compelled to return to her native Ethiopia by way of a forbidden path spanning the Arabian Sea; while a girl from a different time, Mariama, flees a traumatic experience to Ethiopia in search of a better life. - (Baker & Taylor)
Waking up in a futuristic Mumbai with five snake bites, Meena is compelled to return to her native Ethiopia by way of a forbidden path spanning the Arabian Sea; while a girl from a different time, Mariama, flees a traumatic experience to Ethiopia in search of a better life. 80,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)
A debut that Neil Gaiman calls “Glorious. . . . So sharp, so focused and so human.”The Girl in the Road describes a future that is culturally lush and emotionally wrenching.
Monica Byrne bursts on to the literary scene with an extraordinary vision of the future. 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, 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.
- (Random House, Inc.
Byrne's stunning debut tells the story of two women from different time periods who set out on quests across forbidding landscapes. In India in the latter half of the twenty-first century, Meena survives what she believes is an assassination attempt after discovering a snake in her bed. Fleeing this threat to her life, she decides to track down the woman responsible for the death of her parents more than a quarter-of-a-century ago in Ethiopia. Meena knows her journey won't be an easy one. She intends to travel along the Trail, a bridge used to harness energy that runs across the Arabian Sea. Years before Meena sets out on her journey, ten-year-old Mariama smuggles herself aboard a truck bound for Ethiopia. The drivers take pity on her and allow her to accompany them, but it is Yemaya, a mysterious, beautiful passenger they pick up along the way, who captures Mariama's attention and heart. More than a few surprises await Meena and Mariama and the reader as story lines converge in a surprising, gratifying climax. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
Library Journal Reviews
This spectacular and intriguing book of parallel journeys takes place in the near future and the present day; two narratives that are seemingly unrelated arrow together in a shattering climax. The future quest is that of Meena, escaping from a troubled history by embarking on an impossible odyssey across a floating wave-energy bridge connecting India and Africa. The contemporary Miriama is a child slave fleeing from Mauritania across continental Africa to Ethiopia. Both are running from violent pasts; both are in denial about the truth behind their lives. VERDICT Novelist and playwright Byrne's debut is enthralling on many levels. Meena's story provides a detailed vision of the technological and ecopolitical future of Africa and Asia, while Miriam's account depicts the tenuous experience of a powerless child in Africa. The incorporation of evolving views of gender with reference to the Hijra transgender experience in India and the Wodabe Gerewol mate selection ritual (made famous in Werner Herzog's film Herdsmen of the Sun) propel this novel into the stratosphere of artistic brilliance.—Henry Bankhead, Los Gatos Lib., CA
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