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'You cannot pretend to read a book. Your eyes will give you away. So will your breathing. A person entranced by a book simply forgets to breathe. The house can catch alight and a reader deep in a book will not look up until the wallpaper is in flames.' Bougainville, 1991. A small village on a lush tropical island in the South Pacific. Eighty-six days have passed since Matilda's last day of school as, quietly, war is encroaching from the other end of the island. When the villagers' safe, predictable lives come to a halt, Bougainville's children are surprised to find the island's only white man, a recluse, re-opening the school. Pop Eye, aka Mr Watts, explains he will introduce the children to Mr Dickens. Matilda and the others think a foreigner is coming to the island and prepare a list of much needed items. They are shocked to discover their acquaintance with Mr Dickens will be through Mr Watts' inspiring reading of Great Expectations. But on an island at war, the power of fiction has dangerous consequences. Imagination and beliefs are challenged by guns. Mister Pip is an unforgettable tale of survival by story; a dazzling piece of writing that lives long in the mind after the last page is finished.
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Promotional Information

A book can change your life forever ...

About the Author

'Mister Pip' is the first of Lloyd Jones's books to be published in the UK. He lives in Wellington, New Zealand.

Reviews

When violence hits a tropical island, the only white man who refuses to leave delights the children by reading them Great Expectations. Great expectations, too, for New Zealand author Jones. Reading group guide. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

'It's clear from the first page that this is prize-winning stuff! Being a truthful writer, Jones sees nothing neither his heroes nor his villains in black and white. His is a bold inquiry into the way that we construct and repair our communities, and ourselves, with stories old and new' -- The Times 'In this dazzling story-within-a-story, Jones has created a microcosm of post-colonial literature, hybridising the narratives of back and white races to create a new and resonant fable ! There is a fittingly dreamy lyrical quality to Jones's writing, along with an acute ear for the earthly harmonies of village speech ! Mister Pip" is the first of Jones's six novels to have travelled from his native New Zealand to the UK. It is so hoped that it won't be the last' -- Observer 'Mister Pip" is a poignant and impressive work which can take its place alongside the classical novels of adolescence' -- Times Literary Supplement 'A major word-of-mouth bestseller' -- Sue Baker, Publishing News 'Intriguing and memorable' -- Glasgow Herald 'Cleverly encapsulating what it is to be an orphan, an immigrant or a person dispossessed of a regular beat of life, this extraordinary story!' -- Good Housekeeping 'Exotic locations add a dreamy quality to ! Mister Pip" by Lloyd Jones ! Jones' lyrical novel centres around a group of children in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, during the civil war in the Nineties' -- Vogue 'Morally subtle, Mister Pip" has none of arid cleverness that often mars novels about books, making it a worthy winner of this year's Commonwealth Writers' Prize' -- Daily Mail 'Darker and more morally complex than it appears ! Lloyd Jones gives the tired post-colonial themes of self-reinvention and the reinterpretation of classic texts a fresh, ingenious twist but his real achievement is bringing life and depth to his characters' -- Sunday Telegraph 'A must-read tale of survival by storytelling' -- Image Magazine (Ireland) 'A novel that, with amplitude and ease, affirms the acts of reading and writing as precious pursuits, as acts of survival, escape, renewal' -- Scotsman 'The value of moral fiction as a means of dealing with super-heated reality is the theme that gives this book exotic enchantment as a fable for our times' -- Saga Magazine '(A) rather strange, quite wonderful book ! Singular in its vision and muscular in its prose, you won't forget this in a hurry' -- thelondonpaper 'An intelligent novel that says as much about the power of reading as it does about bloodshed and loss' -- New Statesman 'Mister Pip" is a powerful and humane novel from one of New Zealand's top writers' -- Financial Times Magazine 'A captivating read' -- Metro London 'Judges described it as a "mesmerising story showing how books can change lives in utterly surprising ways" ' -- Independent 'Rarely ! can any novel have combined charm, horror and uplift in quite such superabundance' -- D. J. Taylor, Independent 'Lloyd Jones brings to life the transformative power of fiction ! The experience of reading in this book is tangible !This is a beautiful book. It is tender, multi-layered and redemptive' -- Sunday Times 'Magical and enchanting' -- Woman Magazine 'A dazzling piece of writing that lives long in the mind after the last page is finished' -- Whitefriars Magazine 'A mega-good read' -- Dovegreyreader Blog 'Moving' -- Sunday Telegraph 'Poignant, haunting and profoundly humane' -- Sunday Times 'Unforgettable' -- Bookseller

A promising though ultimately overwrought portrayal of the small rebellions and crises of disillusionment that constitute a young narrator's coming-of-age unfolds against an ominous backdrop of war in Jones's latest. When the conflict between the natives and the invading "redskin" soldiers erupts on an unnamed tropical island in the early 1990s, 13-year-old Matilda Laimo and her mother, Dolores, are unified with the rest of their village in their efforts for survival. Amid the chaos, Mr. Watts, the only white local (he is married to a native), offers to fill in as the children's schoolteacher and teaches from Dickens's Great Expectations. The precocious Matilda, who forms a strong attachment to the novel's hero, Pip, uses the teachings as escapism, which rankles Dolores, who considers her daughter's fixation blasphemous. With a mixture of thrill and unease, Matilda discovers independent thought, and Jones captures the intricate, emotionally loaded evolution of the mother-daughter relationship. Jones (The Book of Fame; Biografi) presents a carefully laid groundwork in the tense interactions between Matilda, Dolores and Mr. Watts, but the extreme violence toward the end of the novel doesn't quite work. Jones's prose is faultless, however, and the story is innovative enough to overcome the misplayed tragedy. (July) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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