In a Land of Paper Gods by Rebecca Mackenzie

Rebecca Mackenzie ( is the daughter of missionaries, growing up in 1980s Bangkok, the Malaysian jungle and the tea hills of southern India. Returning to Scotland she completed her education, and at seventeen moved to London to study Religion, History and Thai at the School of Oriental and African Studies. In a Land of Paper Gods is her debut novel.

The summary is as follows. Atop the fabled mountain of Lushan, celebrated for its temples, capricious mists and plunging ravines, perches a boarding school for the children of British missionaries.¬† As her parents pursue their calling to bring the gospel to China’s most remote provinces, ten-year-old Henrietta S. Robertson discovers that she has been singled out for a divine calling of her own. ‘Etta’ is quick to share the news with her dorm mates, and soon even ‘Big Bum Eileen’ is enlisted in the Prophetess Club, which busies itself looking for signs of the Lord’s intent.¬†As rumours of war grow more insistent, so the girls’ quest takes on a new urgency – and in such a mystical landscape, the ‘prophetesses’ find that lines between make believe and reality, good and bad, become dangerously blurred.¬† So Etta’s pilgrimage begins.

This is the story of a child far from home and caught between two cultures. The settings and descriptions of nature are vivid. You will also encounter a multi-layered text Рpart allegory, part dream state, part diary, part history and part travelogue. Expect also an emotional coming of age story. The pain of growing up is given a poetic quality with an intensity of sadness that may remain with you for a long time. Touches of humour are sprinkled to leaven the whole. I think you may enjoy this piece of fiction.

Enquire at your local library or consult for further bibliographic detail.

336 pages in Tinder Press

First published 2016

ISBN  978-1472224224

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Rebecca Mackenzie

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