The Mission House: Book summary and reviews of The Mission House by Carys Davies

The Mission House

by Carys Davies

The Mission House by Carys Davies X
The Mission House by Carys Davies
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2021
    272 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

From the multiple award-winning author of West and The Redemption of Galen Pike, a captivating and propulsive novel following an Englishman seeking refuge in a remote hill town in India who finds himself caught in the crossfire of local tensions and violence.

Fleeing his demons and the dark undercurrents of contemporary life in the UK, Hilary Byrd takes refuge in a former British hill station in South India. Charmed by the foreignness of his new surroundings and by the familiarity of everything the British have left behind, he finds solace in life's simple pleasures, travelling by rickshaw around the small town with his driver Jamshed and staying in a mission house beside the local presbytery where the Padre and his adoptive daughter Priscilla have taken Hilary under their wing.

The Padre is concerned for Priscilla's future, and as Hilary's friendship with the young woman grows, he begins to wonder whether his purpose lies in this new relationship. But religious tensions are brewing and the mission house may not be the safe haven it seems.

The Mission House boldly and imaginatively explores post-colonial ideas in a world fractured between faith and non-belief, young and old, imperial past and nationalistic present. Tenderly subversive and meticulously crafted, it is a deeply human story of the wonders and terrors of connection in a modern world.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Told from alternating perspectives, this captivating, nuanced tale balances a pervading sense of melancholy with pockets of wry humor. Davies's masterly elegy is not to be missed." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Davies' accumulation of curious, private, overlapping characters is presented tenderly in an India that seems, despite mention of internet cafes, scarcely to belong to the modern era...Davies subtly synthesizes complex issues into a low-key yet compelling web of affecting destinies." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Davies creates a world that is magical yet daubed with menace. Nuanced characters, lush descriptions of South India, and an incisive look at class and religion make for a rich and layered novel." - Booklist (starred review)

"Part mystery, part romance, this charming story is set in the present but has the feel of an earlier time. Fans of Helen Simonson's Major Pettigrew's Last Stand and Rachel Joyce's The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry will eat this spicy masala of a novel right up." - Library Journal (starred review)

"[A] fresh take on a familiar trope…Byrd is like so many others, from beatniks to empire loyalists, who form a connection not with real Indians but with a fantasy of India fashioned out of their own ideological prejudices and psychological needs. The Mission House truthfully reveals that the new realities of India will increasingly have their revenge on these tired old romances." - The Guardian (UK)

"Brilliantly crafted...Having subtly prepared the ground, Davies finally springs the jaws of her plot, revealing, heartbreakingly, to us...what kind of story this really is." - The Daily Mail (UK)

This information about The Mission House shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Carys Davies Author Biography

Carys Davies's debut novel West was shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize, Runner Up for the Society of Authors' McKitterick Prize, and winner of the Wales Book of the Year for Fiction. Her second novel The Mission House was published in August 2020.

She is also the author of two collections of short stories, Some New Ambush and The Redemption of Galen Pike, which won the 2015 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and the 2015 Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize. She is the recipient of the Royal Society of Literature's V.S. Pritchett Prize, the Society of Authors' Olive Cook Short Story Award, a Northern Writers' Award, a Cullman Fellowship at the New York Public Library, and is a member of the Folio Academy. Her fiction has been translated into nine languages.

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