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The Mission House

The Mission House

Carys Davies

Fleeing the dark undercurrents of contemporary Britain, Hilary Byrd takes refuge in a hill station in South India. There he finds solace in life’s simple pleasures, travelling by rickshaw around the small town and staying in a mission house beside the local presbytery, where the Padre and his adoptive daughter Priscilla have taken him under their wing.

As his friendship with the young woman grows, Hilary 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 interrogates the fractures 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.

INTERVIEWS and REVIEWS

BBC Radio 4: Open Book   
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Carys Davies
About the Author

Carys Davies’ 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. She is also the author of two collections of short stories, Some New Ambush and The Redemption of Galen Pike (published in Australia as the single collection...

Read Moreright
Extent:
256pp
Format:
Paperback
Text publication date:
18 August 2020
ISBN:
9781922330635
AU Price:
$29.99
NZ Price:
$37.00
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Praise for Carys Davies
andThe Mission House

‘Tender, playful, piercing, light-footed—this is an irresistible novel.’

‘A subtle, masterly treasure.‘

‘A compelling read. Carys Davies has an amazing gift for summoning up a place, a situation, the characters. Her skill is that of brevity, nailing a personality with a few lines of dialogue, saying most by saying least.’

‘A wonderfully written tale of subtle repetitions from multiple points of view set in India - it has the simplicity of fairy tale, the heft of fable and contains all the human sadness and joy of misfits.’

‘An astonishingly assured and gripping piece of work and a worthy follow-up to West. Davies has a voice unlike any I’ve read: clean, otherworldly, eerily original, and capable of devastating effect.’

‘I felt, reading this extraordinary novel, that the thorough oddity of its chief characters, their strange innocence, amounts to a revolt, on our behalf too, against the stupidity, cruelty, fanaticism and bigoted violence of the world in which they more or less successfully live their eccentric lives.’

The Mission House is an absolute triumph. That rare type of book—resoundingly tender, and gently heart-wrenching. Carys Davies doesn’t drop a sentence. I was deeply moved, and spellbound.’

‘Carys Davies is a writer of immense talent.’

‘Carys Davies deserves every accolade she has received.’

‘Davies’ artistry is matched by her storytelling powers.’

‘Carys Davies is a deft, audacious visionary.’

‘Carys Davies’ enthralling fictions carry us across time and continents, and bring interior worlds to life.’

‘Davies’ lapidary prose is a marvel—she creates worlds in a few deft pen strokes.’

‘Brilliantly crafted…Having subtly prepared the ground, Davies finally springs the jaws of her plot, revealing, heartbreakingly, to us, and the tragically blinkered Hilary, what kind of story this really is.‘

‘A delicately political tale that keeps the real drama largely below the surface.’

‘Subtle with nuance and alive with immediacy, again adroitly using small-scale effects to enlarge understanding and extend empathy, the resulting novel is a masterly achievement.’

‘A novel about the pitfalls of human connection in contemporary India…An interesting take on a familiar trope…The Mission House truthfully reveals that the new realities of India will increasingly have their revenge on these tired old romances.’

The Mission House puts [the genre of] Raj fiction to fresh purposes…the prevailing tone modulates between gentle humour and low key poignancy. The small, often dashed hopes of the under-privileged…are affectingly noted…Embroidered on a placard in the bungalow is the motto “Lean Not on Thine Own Understanding”. It’s a message that pervades the book. Misunderstandings and misinterpretations fatefully mesh. Sudden shifts into another’s mind tilt things into unsettling new perspectives…Subtle with nuance and alive with immediacy, again adroitly using small-scale effects to enlarge understanding and extend empathy, the resulting novel is a masterly achievement.’

‘A delicately political tale that keeps the real drama largely below the surface, leaving the reader to gauge the extent of the protagonist’s self-deluding solipsism.’

‘Brilliantly crafted…Having subtly prepared the ground, Davies finally springs the jaws of her plot, revealing, heartbreakingly, to us, and the tragically blinkered Hilary, what kind of story this really is.‘

‘This beautifully crafted story reveals the clash between old and new ways, imperial past and nationalistic present.‘

‘Davies weaves her story with brevity and to devastating effect, drawing a portrait of an odd group of lonely people struggling to find a connection in a changing world’

Other editions ofThe Mission House
  • The Mission House
    ebook
    ISBN: 9781925923773
    18 August 2020
    Buy ebook