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  • Published: 5 April 2018
  • ISBN: 9780241982242
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 304

Things Bright and Beautiful

In the 1950s a missionary and his wife hope to bring God to a remote South Pacific island, but instead fear losing their souls . . .

Mission House was not built for three people. Especially when one of them won't stop humming.
When Bea Hanlon follows her preacher husband Max to a remote island in the Pacific, she soon sees that their mission will bring anything but salvation. It's not just the rats and the hordes of mosquitos and the weevils in the powdered milk. Past the confines of their stuffy little house, amidst the damp and the dust and the sweltering heat, rumours are spreading of devil-chasers who roam the island on the hunt for evil spirits. And then are the noises from the church at night...
Just as Bea begins to adapt to Advent Island, the arrival of an unexpected, wildly irritating and always humming house guest rattles her new life. And before long, trapped in the jungle and in the growing fever of her husband's insanity, Bea finds herself fighting for her freedom, and for her life.
Things Bright and Beautiful is a powerful portrait of a mission gone awry and a marriage in crisis, with the strength of Bea at its heart.

  • Published: 5 April 2018
  • ISBN: 9780241982242
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 304

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Praise for Things Bright and Beautiful

This book is so rich in detail, the rainforest so immersive, and the characters so wonderfully odd, that I was sucked into its dark beating heart and wasn't spat out until I'd turned the final page

Claire Fuller

Dark, mysterious, beguiling, and beautifully written. It transported me to a different world

Dolly Alderton

A claustrophobic compelling read that'll suck you into its heart of darkness


Phenomenally disturbing . . . With consummate imagination and technical flair, Salam contrives a crescendo of queasiness that reaches a 'tumult of madness' and manages to make Somerset Maugham's 'Rain' seem like a picnic

The Spectator

An excellent, blackly funny debut ... a novel whose growing environmental and psychological horrors you can feel crawling across your skin

Daily Mail

What a hot and sticky, feverishly Lord Of The Flies-style debut! The whole novel excels in rich detail - I wouldn't be surprised if English teachers use it as a masterclass in descriptive prose

The Pool

A vivid account . . . The island setting and the rainforest are compellingly evoked, along with the claustrophobic backdrop of religious mania and a dysfunctional marriage - an impressive debut

Penelope Lively

Thrilling . . . oozing with vivid descriptions and a deeply claustrophobic atmosphere, this debut is quite unlike anything else you'll read this year

Heat World

Delves in directions you won't see coming, swallowing you like the darkness of the jungle, with a captivating narrative brimming with wonder, trepidation and wit

Foyles Newsletter

Examining the true nature of religious missions and a marriage in crisis, this is a vividly drawn and powerful novel


The book abounds with lurid descriptive passages revelling in tropical ickiness ... competent and assured

Irish Times

A richly textured novel. Darkly humorous and atmospheric, this debut about fanaticism and marital crisis is one to watch out for

Book Riot

Darkly comic and thrilling

Elle Magazine