Critical Context

Hersey’s connections to China are strong and personal. His father, Roscoe M. Hersey, Sr., was himself a missionary to China, and Hersey was born in Tientsin and lived there until he was eleven. Nothing suggests, however, that The Call should be read as a chronicle of his father’s experience. Indeed, Hersey notes that “all characters are fictional except recognizable historical figures, who bear their own names.” The Call is a rigorously researched novel of a man’s life and an impressionistic reconstruction of an important period in modern history.