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Mister Pip Paperback – 10 Jan 2008

170 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray (10 Jan. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 071956994X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719569944
  • Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 1.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (170 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,569 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'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)

'It's a wonderfully refreshing book which gives you much to think about long after finishing' (Psychologies)

'Incredible, one of the best reading experiences I've had' (Janie Dee, Daily Express)

Book Description

A book can change your life forever . . .

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mondoro TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 27 Jun. 2008
Format: Paperback
The main story unfolds in the exotic, and for most readers little-known location of the islands adjacent to Papua New Guinea, itself one of the newer indepdendent states. An accident of history placed the island of Bougainville, occupied by Melanesians ('blacks') and geographically part of the Solomon Islands, with the racially distinct Papua New Guinea ('Redskins'), leading to a rebellion against the mainland government in 1975 and an all-out war from 1990. Mr Pip is set in the context of the latter, with rural communities trying to exist in what was dismissed as a civil conflict by the outside world, but which could also be described as a liberation struggle against a new set of colonial masters.

In this environment it is difficult for great literature to survive. However, Mr Pip, the rather eccentric and tatterdemalion outsider, becomes almost by default the conduit whereby one literary classic, Great Expectations will live on, inspiring the young islander Matilda to become a Dickens expert herself and thus a conveyor of a literary tradition (possibly eventually to her own people).

Such is the main story - nothing really exceptional. What is unusual is the way Lloyd Jones has added other layers of story-telling. We discover that Mr Pip has told an over-simplified version of Dickens to the village children. Then, when the book is destroyed in the violence inflicted by outsiders, the children gather together their fragments of memory and create a new narrative. Their success is one of the positive features of an otherwise rather depressing novel, indicating that great novels that inspire will not die even if they physically perish.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ms. C. Robertshawe on 8 Jan. 2009
Format: Paperback
Mister Pip is a story set on the island of Bougainville which has been struck by the devastation of war in the early 1990's. All white people have fled the island except for one man called Mr. Watts who is married to a native of the island. To the children of the island, he is known as `Popeye' and takes over as role of the teacher. Amidst the conflict between the government and rebel soldiers, Mr. Watts begins to read Charles Dickens' Great Expectations to the children. 13 year old Matilda instantly becomes fixated with his story and in particular forms a strong attachment to the character Pip. Matilda declares `We could escape to another place' when listening to Watts' story. She writes Pip's name in the sand but when soldiers discover this, they believe he is a rebel leader and destroy things belonging to the villagers. Matilda's mother; Dolores, considers her daughter's fascination with the book profane and it outrages her. Being caught between Mr. Watts and her fiercely religious mother is difficult for Matilda, but as the story goes on, Jones is able to capture Matilda and her mother's relationship evolving emotionally.

Mr. Watts believes that literature has the powerful ability to free the minds of its readers which is shown through how the children seek refuge in his story. On an island spoilt by war, the story eventually brings the community together but not before Matilda and other islanders face great grievance due to the desperately heartbreaking event that leaves Matilda deprived of something she fought so greatly to unite. This brilliant, thought provoking story requires a creative imagination and if Mister Pip is anything to go by, then Jones' other books are a must read.
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52 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Gordon Eldridge on 26 Feb. 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is a very interesting book indeed. The central character is a young girl caught up in civil unrest on an island in New Guinea. When all those who are able to flee the island do so, the only remaining white man, a somewhat eccentric New Zealander, begins teaching the island's children. He is not a teacher by trade and the only text he has at his disposal is a well-worn copy of Great Expectations. The scene is set for the author to explore some very interesting themes - the clash of Western and tribal cultures, the role stories play in our lives (both our own and those from literature), the way grasping an opportunity can change our lives forever, the horrors of civil unrest.....Along the way we are treated to some truly insightful moments and some intriguing plot twists. Then somewhere near the end things go wrong. None of the ideas that have been taken up are brought to a satisfactory conclusion and the plot just seems to fade away into oblivion. I would still recommend reading the book. It is conceptually interesting and ambitious, but somehow doesn't quite get where it wants to go.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. Beere on 1 Jan. 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a heart-warming story seen through the eyes of a young girl named Matilda. Living on the island of Bougainville at a time of war, the story follows her life after the last boat departs, leaving the island's remaining inhabitants to try and carry on with their lives as best as they can. Mr Watts is the only white man on the island and he becomes the self-appointed teacher for the children in absence of their usual school schedule. His only teaching tool is Dickens' Great Expectations and through this book the children and the reader can escape from the terrible war that the island face. The book provides a world for the children on the island to escape to so they can think about the individual characters and how they relate to each of them. Mister Pip has a magical feel to it and combines the emotions of surprise, love, devastation, heartache fear and hope. As the reader you never really know what to expect as you turn each page but I was never disappointed. The writer worked hard to keep the magical ways of Great expectations alive and through this managed to provide a touching, hopeful story of a young girl at a time of war. The reader joins Matilda on her journey and learns to love her and feel for her during the life events that she goes through. A very good read that I thoroughly enjoyed and I would strongly recommend.
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