The Museum of Lost and Fragile Things: A Year of Salvage


Suzanne Joinson
Product Price UK Shipping EU Shipping ROW Shipping
Paperback £13.99 £3.00 £5.00 £15.00


Available in 9 months
SKU: 978-1911648680 Category:

Suzanne Joinson grew up in both a cult and a council estate.

Suzanne Joinson grew up in a 1980s council estate in Crewe, where her parents were followers of The Divine Light Mission cult. This clash of class and counterculture destroyed her family, leaving a legacy of turmoil and poverty.

Years later, she attempts to reclaim what she’s lost and piece together the impact of a childhood infused with esoteric yoga practices, psychedelic encounters, and meditation techniques. The Museum of Lost and Fragile Things explores the realm of mother-daughter relationships and inherited class-based trauma, in a moving, delicately-woven account of coming to terms with a complicated past.

Praise for Suzanne Joinson

‘A powerful portrait illustrating the dark side to hippy subcultures, it questions whether mind control can lead a mind to run wild. Joinson’s intimate portrayal of her ceaseless yearning to rescue and reconcile her loved ones from the mistakes of the past is gripping and moving. This is a beautifully written testament to mercy. It is everything those who have been left with nothing are looking for: to feel seen.’
— Jade Angeles Fitton, author of Hermit: A memoir of finding freedom in a wild place

‘Recycling the past in a tour de force.’
Irish Independent

‘This is a sprightly, engaging and lovingly written book.’
— Catherine Taylor, Guardian

‘An impressive debut, its prose as lucid and deep as a mountain lake.’
New York Times

‘Radiates a brave and terrible loneliness.’
The Observer, Paperback of the week

‘Suzanne Joinson beckons readers with lush, evocative prose, yet never lets her gift for poetry interfere with a good story—or, to be more precise, two good stories…. Readers of A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar are certain to enjoy a literary journey that is not unlike the best bicycle ride—invigorating and challenging, with plenty of hills, vales and scenic views to keep one’s blood pumping and spirits soaring.’

‘In this touching debut novel, two women share a connection. Eva is a missionary (and keen cyclist) who writes of pedalling through 1920s Kashgar, while Frieda, a modem-day Londoner, inherits her journal.’
InStyle (Australia)

‘Two parallel narratives snake and twist with a surprising conclusion.’
Vogue US

‘Joinson has penned an impressive debut… It is a novel of beguiling beauty, suspense and mystery… Joinson touches on themes of religious fanaticism and hypocrisy, deception and sexual secrets, throwing in additional riffs on ornithological and bike-riding lore, photography, calligraphy, cooking and yoga without missing a single melodic beat of this superbly paced, beautifully written novel. It’s with an elegant, feather-light flourish of her own pen too, that Joinson unspools decades of mystery and deception in the novel’s haunting denouement. This is an utterly irresistible novel that demands to be read more than once.’
— Bron Sibree, The West Australian

‘The opening of this book is nothing if not dramatic! … With a gripping narrative and two powerful stories, Joinson creates a novel with considerable impact.’

‘A story about two very different women.’
— Voyeur

‘A heartfelt tale and fascinating history of life in the remote and ancient city [of Kashgar]. A deep and touching debut.’
Grazia (Australia)

‘As with many well-written novels that follow two timelines in parallel, this is a rich and rewarding read in which the two plots reflect each other and amplify some of the ideas and concerns common to both.’
The Sydney Morning Herald

‘Intriguing characters breathe life into this novel about the love of travel, culture, kinship, loss and cycling. A great debut from Joinson and a must-read for winter holidays. Read it if you enjoy the work of Ann Patchett and Barbara Kingsolver.’
Sunday Mail (Brisbane)

‘Impressive debut novel … The link between Evengeline English and Frieda becomes easy to discern as the novel progresses, but what Joinson is really interested in is culture clash…. This parallel use of the emigrant/immigrant experience is enlightening an full of dramatic potential … a novel that very effectively draws you in … a subtle and pleasing story.’
— Lesley McDowell, Scotland on Sunday

‘An ambitious debut … With intriguing characters and exotic locations, A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar is a compelling and likeable tale … not only a smartly paced adventure story but also a careful meditation on the myriad ways in which loving, and failing, our children are often tragically and inextricably linked.’
— Beth Jones, Sunday Telegraph

‘Clever, exotic, compulsive, intensely moving.’
— Sue Leonard, Irish Examiner

‘Two stories are told in Suzanne Joinson’s complex, luminous debut about unconventional women … With great delicacy, Joinson conveys wonder and horror, both past and present, as the scraps of stories from this cast of wanderers build into an enthralling tale, packed with vivid impressions and full of surprises.’
— Tina Jackson, Metro

‘The title of Suzanne Joinson’s first novel promises much and delivers … Joinson’s characterisation is finely drawn and brings Kashgar vividly to life – it’s a debut novel of note.’
— Sarah Crowden, The Lady

‘Suzanne Joinson’s bold and elegant first novel sheds new light on the women who travelled thousands of miles, risking life and limb, to win souls for Christ … Joinson’s depiction of the continuing cultural, sexual and spiritual conflicts between East and West is provocative and powerful.  The present is as richly depicted as the past, with Frieda’s professional life and family background as significant as Evangeline’s. An ambitious, accomplished debut.’
— Michael Arditti, Daily Mail

‘An affecting tale of inheritance and belonging.’
Woman’s Own

‘It takes less than a page for Suzanne Joinson to seize your attention … there is so much here that is wonderful: the author’s crisp, uncluttered story-telling, her graceful prose, and her ability to inhabit the character of a young woman in 1924 and a contemporary young woman with equal depth and ease. It is an impressive first novel.’
Boston Globe

‘This is an impressive debut, its prose as lucid and deep as a mountain lake. Joinson also has a gift for evoking finely calibrated shifts of feeling … Joinson illuminates her narrative with a playfulness that borders on the Gothic.’
— Sara Wheeler, Scotsman

‘An impressive debut exploring themes of freedom in present-day London and 1920s China. From the far reaches of the colonial Silk Route to the streets of modern London, there’s a brilliant sense of place in this original debut.’
— Eithne Farry, Marie Claire

‘Joinson possesses a touching, joyful quality that somehow suits the fragile, elusive nature of her characters.’
— Rachel Hore, Independent on Sunday

‘What makes A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar successful is that within this entertaining tale of adventure and betrayal lie deeper themes about connections between generations and nationalities.’

O: The Oprah Magazine

‘Having traveled to Asia and the Middle East while working for the British council, Joinson knows what it’s like to be a stranger far from home. And she’s captured that feeling, often poetically, in her debut, which cuts between two timelines.’
Entertainment Weekly

‘Present and past meld into an exploration of conflicting traditions in an impressive debut … An intriguing window into the difficulties of those who attempt to reach across cultural barriers.’
Publishers Weekly

‘Beautifully written in language too taut, piercing, and smartly observed to be called lyrical, this atmospheric first novel immediately engages, nicely reminding us that odd twists of fate sometimes aren’t that odd. Highly recommended.’
— Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal

Published: 5 September 2024
ISBN: 978-1911648680
Cover design: Luke Bird
Cover photographs: Ben Nicholls
Format:  Demy paperback with flaps

Publicist: Karen Duffy 

About the author

Suzanne Joinson is the author of two novels, A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar and The Photographer’s Wife. Her books are translated into fourteen languages, and she was a National Bestseller in the US.

Suzanne won the New Writing Ventures Award, was longlisted for the IMPAC International Literary Fiction Award, and is a member of the Folio Academy. She has been published in The New York Times, the Guardian, and Conde Nast Traveller. She lives with her family in Sussex.

The Museum of Lost and Fragile Things

“To grow up in both a ‘cult’ and in a working-class world (whatever those words might mean) was a confusing clash of identities or non-identities. I’d never tried to pull the elements apart, let alone arrange them back together into a story. It became important to find a composition for them, to build a house, a museum-space, and a room.”

The Bookseller, 18 October 2023: The Indigo Press snaps up ‘extraordinary’ memoir from Joinson

You may also like…