Addicted to the page, January 4, 2011 (view all comments by Addicted to the page)
Lloyd Jones bases his story of the power of imagination in the civil war on Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, where a young girl, her mother, and an eccentric foreign teacher collide with a dangerous soldier. Poignant and powerful.
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kate beswick, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by kate beswick)
this is a story, written in lyrical, passionate prose, about war and its victims, about the salvation to be found in language, in literature, about the fine line between who are and what we imagine and the power of literature to enrich and give value to our lives. The book deal with tragedy and triumph. It is the sort of book one wants to give to everyone one knows
bowenby, January 1, 2010 (view all comments by bowenby)
This is a moving coming-of-age story of a young Solomon Islands girl whose village is caught up in an armed insurrection. The sole remaining white, following the departure of the missionary teachers, agrees to teach at the abandoned school, using Dickens' Great Expectations as his only text. As the children of the village are drawn into the story, a conflict arises between the teacher, whose past is something of a mystery, and the girl's devoutly religious mother, for whom the Bible is the only book worth reading. Actions taken and not taken by these three principals lead to profound consequences for all when the village is visited by the rebels and the government soldiers in turn.
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One of the best books I read in 2008, Mister Pip is the kind of lyrical and poignant novel one wishes to find every few weeks. An added bonus: it also inspires a desire to reread Dickens's Great Expectations.
by Sheila N.
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"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)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,
"[A]n assured tribute to the remarkable ability of literature to see us through adversities and tribulations. The Man Booker committee would be on the mark were it to give its prestigious award to Mister Pip."
by Atlantic Monthly,
"Not just a delightful read, Mister Pip shows the cut and thrust of true multiculturalism."
by Booklist (Starred Review),
"The accessible narrative, with its direct and graceful prose, belies the sophistication of its telling as Jones addresses head-on the effects of imperialism and the redemptive power of art."
by Library Journal,
"[A]ddresses ideas of place and homesickness with conviction...a worthwhile read."
by Keith Donohue, author of The Stolen Child,
"Mister Pip is sheer magic, a story about stories and their power to transcend the limits of imagination and reside in the deep heart's core. Lloyd Jones is a brave and fierce writer, and he has given us Dickens brand new again."
by Janet Maslin, The New York Times,
"[I]f Mister Pip is preachy — and it is — it's also a book with worthwhile thoughts to impart. Mr. Jones's ability to translate these thoughts into the gentle, tropical, roundabout idiom of his setting...turns out to be genuinely affecting."
by Kirkus Reviews,
"A little Gauguin, a bit of Lord Jim, the novel's lyricism evokes great beauty and great pain."
In a transcendent novel that is at once intense, beautiful, and fable-like, the author of Biograf celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the power of narrative to transform lives.
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