Author(s): Carys Davies
Fleeing the dark undercurrents of contemporary life in Britain, Hilary Byrd takes refuge in Ooty, a hill station in South India. There 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 Houseboldly 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 fable of the wonders and terrors of connection in a modern world.
MATILDA BOOKSHOP REVIEW
This quiet novel, set in India at the turn of the century, explores weighty topics such as imperialism, religious intolerance and mental health but in a blessedly unassuming manner. Following middle-aged bachelor Hilary Byrd as he seeks refuge from his unfulfilled life in the UK, Davies gently excavates modern India's intersection with its history through Byrd's eyes. His relationships, including a fraught and unrequited love for his housekeeper, are deftly drawn and the characters deeply and warmly described. Gavin