Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Lloyd Jones: Mister Pip

What a fantastic read! At times the storyline is disturbing, in particular when it comes to the descriptions of the impending upheaval and the actual trauma of the rebels and the redskins entering the village. However, as for Matilda "Great Expectations" also gives the reader an escape into a different world. I also enjoyed Matilda's later years, where she travels to London and Rochester to see the places as they are and as they have entered the Dickens novels. I must admit that this novel gives me reasons to re-read some of English finest classics, and living in Kent gives me reasons to re-visit Rochester!

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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