In a Land of Paper Gods

Author(s): Rebecca Mackenzie


Jiangxi Province, China, 1941 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. (Hark.)

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.

A story of a child far from home and caught between two cultures, In A Land of Paper Gods marries exuberant imagination with sharp pathos, and introduces Rebecca Mackenzie as a striking and original new voice.


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'Set in a missionary school in China... carries echoes of Empire of the Sun and The Poisonwood Bible.' --Observer (2016 Highlights))

'Infused with a delicate, melancholy note of nostalgia, Mackenzie's depiction of a bygone world is vividly realised.' --Independent

'An evocative and involving novel with a wonderful setting.' --Woman & Home

'Mackenzie is a self-assured, poetic storyteller... This is a wonderful, special book. I inhaled it.' --Red

'If you like your novels lyrical but pacy, look out for this beautiful debut.' --Elle

'An imaginative and touching debut.' --Good Housekeeping

'Rebecca Mackenzie's vigorous prose is original and highly evocative. The untameable beauty of China's Lushan mountain and the dangers that lie beyond are echoed in the dramatic landscapes that Etta must navigate within herself. Her fate will linger in your thoughts long after the story ends.' --Claire King, author of THE NIGHT RAINBOW)

'Such a wonderful voice, very funny and hugely moving.' --Anna James @ The Bookseller

'Really enjoyed IN A LAND OF PAPER GODS - a dreamlike tale, like a cross between Picnic at Hanging Rock and Empire of the Sun... lovely prose and a great setting.' --Stav Sherez

Rebecca Mackenzie spent her childhood in Thailand, Malaysia and India. She has MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway. She lives in London. IN A LAND OF PAPER GODS is her first novel.

General Fields

  • : 9781472224200
  • : Headline Publishing Group
  • : Tinder Press
  • : December 2015
  • : United Kingdom
  • : January 2016
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Rebecca Mackenzie
  • : Paperback
  • : 1
  • : 352