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The Girl in the Road

A Novel

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Description

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.

From the Hardcover edition.

Publishers Weekly Review

Feb 24, 2014 – The Trail, or Trans-Arabian Linear Generator, reaches from Bombay to Africa, resembles a “pontoon bridge,” and in the year 2068 generates a vast amount of energy from both the sea and the sun. In this debut novel, it also becomes a means for Meena, a tough young woman living in India, to travel to Ethiopia, where she was born and where her parents were killed soon thereafter. Byrne builds an elaborate future with complex geopolitical realities and a fascinating scientific illustration of the Trail and its power. She also has a clear handle on everything from Hindu rituals to Addis Ababa side streets. Unfortunately, the concepts aren’t enough to bring Meena to life, or perhaps it’s the ideas that suffocate the characters. With overbearing first-person exposition, violent melodrama, and exaggerated sexual escapades, the book never quite coalesces into the sum of its many parts. Additionally, the narrative relies on alternating chapters featuring another story thread—an escaped slave girl, Mariama, heading east toward India as Meena travels west. The two plot strands eventually intertwine, but instead of illuminating one another, they contribute to an overall sense of discombobulation.
The Girl in the Road
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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: May 20, 2014
  • Publisher: Crown/Archetype
  • Seller: Random House, LLC
  • Print Length: 352 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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