A novel of a missionary family in India at the turn of the century, as told in the first person by 13-year old Paul. The ""call"" of the title is the ""call"" of the Lord, to do missionary work. Mother and Father have had the ""call"" and earnestly hope that Paul, too, will feel it. And Paul, while polite and dutiful is rebellious. He wants passionately to go back to America and forget all about India, the mission, the brutal ragging he is subjected to in the British school in North India where he goes each fall. The story line is slight. Rather is it an episodic book of daily living in India, of the native servants, the famine orphans in the mission school, the beautiful and terrifying flora and fauna. The style is what has come to be known as ""vivid writing"": (""dusty pages smelling as yellow as an upset stomach""; ""a cricket scraped at the edges of the silence"", etc.) At times this can be disruptive to the reader, as is the slowing down caused by the constant intrusion of dialectal words such as oogeetz, dhoturs, chowkra. There are flashes of humor and satire. There is pathos and compassion and cruelty. But the pace of the novel lags and the shape is amorphous, and the appeal would seem limited.