Shy, plagued with anxiety and unable to cope with life in Britain today, an Englishman escapes to India, finding refuge in a small hill town. Here he lodges in the mission house belonging to the fading Anglican church established in the days of the Raj. Gradually Mr Hilary Byrd’s mind becomes less troubled as he gets to know the town in the company of the ageing rickshaw driver, Jamshed, and he grows closer to the widowed Padre and especially his adopted daughter Priscilla. But just as he seriously misjudges relationships, he remains unconscious of the increasing threat of political and religious tensions in contemporary India. These will bring dangerous undercurrents to swirl around him even as he comes to regard the mission house as a safe haven, and the consequences will be dramatic.
With restraint and sensitivity, acclaimed fiction writer Carys Davies explores the continuing legacy of imperialism and the differences in language, culture, knowledge, mentality and understanding which hamper relationships. Perfectly paced and written with consummate craft and deep empathy for all its varied characters, The Mission House presents an unforgettable study of human relationships in troubled post-colonial times.
'Subtle with nuance and alive with immediacy… a masterly achievement.'
Peter Kemp, The Sunday Times
‘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’
‘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’