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In the Country

'Superb' Sigrid Nunez, author of The Friend

Mia Alvar

‘Her diamond prose sparkles so brightly and cuts so deeply’ Celeste Ng

Shortlisted for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize

Shortlisted for the John Leonard Prize

Winner of the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award for Fiction

With nine globe-trotting, unforgettable stories, Mia Alvar vividly gives voice to the exiles, emigrants and wanderers of the Filipino diaspora. From teachers to housemaids, from mothers to sons, her powerful debut collection explores the universal experiences of loss, displacement, and the longing to connect across borders both real and imagined. Deeply compassionate and richly felt, In the Country speaks to the heart of everyone who has ever searched for a place to call home, and marks the emergence of a formidable new writer.

  • Publication date: June 23, 2016
  • ISBN: 9781780749792
  • RRP: £8.99
  • Pages: 368
  • Publication date: April 7, 2016
  • ISBN: 9781780749808
  • RRP: £4.99
  • Pages: 368


‘Remarkable… Each of these nine stories is superb.’

New York Times

'Powerful and engaging'.

Emerald Street

'It’s hard to believe that In the Country is Mia Alvar’s debut: her diamond prose sparkles so brightly and cuts so deeply.’ 

Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You

‘A superb debut collection that reads like the work of a seasoned writer. Mia Alvar illuminates the lives of her characters with such penetrating insight, wisdom, and compassion that it’s impossible not to experience their struggles and aspirations as your own. Even as it satisfies, In the Country leaves the reader hungry for more from this gifted, sensitive storyteller.’ 

Sigrid Nunez, author of The Friend

‘A stunning debut – without ever getting overly sentimental, page after page of In the Country is laced with... revelatory, unflinching truth… Mia Alvar comes out swinging for the fences in her powerful first story collection... and doesn’t ever let up.’ 

San Francisco Chronicle

‘So assured and so wise, these stories feel like classics already.’ 

Karen Thompson Walker, author of The Age of Miracles

‘Summer’s standout debut is Mia Alvar’s peripatetic story collection, In the Country, which captures a global village of voices—a blue-eyed fashion model in Manila; a nanny in gilded Bahrain—with a ventriloquist’s ease.’, “Summer’s Best Beach Reads”

‘Smart and compelling.’


Roxanne Gay, B&N Review

‘A writer with enchanting powers.’

New York Times Book Review

‘With arresting imagery and characters that are intriguing beneath their seeming ordinariness, these are powerful tales that evoke a sense of place, while exploring identity and displacement’.

The Lady

‘Emotionally ambitious…Alvar hits the ground running…What will make readers want to remain in the tired and sad company of Alvar's workers and wanderers is her own gorgeous writing style. Each one of the nine stories in this collection riffs on the theme of exile; yet, every main character's situation is distinct, morally messy in a different way, and unpredictable. Alvar is the kind of writer whose imagination seems inexhaustible, and who stirs up an answering desire in her readers for more and more stories…Alvar is reportedly working on a novel…which is great news, because as a reader and a new fan, I want more and more and more.’

Maureen Corrigan, “Fresh Air,” NPR

‘Compulsively readable…thanks to Alvar's expansiveness and her gift for grounded, human-scale metaphors…Each of In the Country's nine stories about the Filipino diaspora has the satisfying heft of a little novel. In precise and patient prose, Alvar reveals the complex patterns of labour migration that structure and define her characters' most intimate relationships.’ 

Chicago Tribune

Mia Alvar

Mia Alvar was born in Manila and grew up in Bahrain and New York City. Her work has appeared in One Story, The Missouri Review, FiveChapters, The Cincinnati Review, and elsewhere. She has received fellowships from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Yaddo, and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program. A graduate of Harvard College and the School of the Arts at Columbia University, she lives in New York City.

Author page

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