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Mister Pip
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About the Author

Lloyd Jones was born in New Zealand in 1955. His previous novels and collections of stories include the award-winning The Book of Fame, Biografi, a New York Times Notable Book, Choo Woo, Here at the End of the World We Learn to Dance and Paint Your Wife. Lloyd Jones lives in Wellington.

Jones's Here at the End of the World We Learn to Dance will be available in the U.S. for the first time on August 26, 2008.

Reviews

The Man Booker Prize is the British version of the National Book Award; this year the honor went to Anne Enright for her novel The Gathering, but also worth considering is finalist Mister Pip (Dial: Random. 2007. ISBN 978-0-385-34106-6. $20) by Lloyd Jones. Set on a Pacific island near New Guinea in the 1990s, this is a tale of war, love, literature, and the power of belief. With the island engulfed in civil strife and the white people having fled, Mr. Watts, the remaining white man, who is married to a native, volunteers to become the schoolteacher and reopens the village school. His text of choice is Charles Dickens's Great Expectations. Matilda, one of his students, is enraptured by the story, finding the fate of Pip a needed escape from the horrors of her own existence. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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.

"One of the best books of the year! Poetic, heartbreaking, surprising. Matilda is a young girl in Bougainville, a tropical island where the horror of civil war lurks. Mr. Watts, the only white person, is the self appointed teacher of the tiny school where the only textbook is the Dickens novel Great Expectations. Storytelling, imagination, courage, beauty, memories and sudden violence are the main elements of this extraordinary book."--Isabel Allende

"Genuinely affecting.... A book with worthwhile thoughts to impart."--The New York Times "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."--Keith Donohue, author of The Stolen Child "Jones's prose is fautless.... With a mixture of thrill and unease, Matilda discovers independent thought, and Jones captures the intricate, emotionally loaded evolution of the mother-daughter relationship."--Publishers Weekly "The novel is a paean to the transformative power of literature, particularly its ability to occlude an unpleasant reality with a fictional alternative and to expand an individual's sense of possibility."--New York Sun "Not just a delightful read, Mister Pip shows the cut and thrust of true multiculturalism."--Atlantic Monthly

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