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Pobby and Dingan [Hardcover]

Ben Rice
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 Oct 2000
Pobby and Dingan are two imaginary friends of Kellyanne, the daughter of an opal miner in New South Wales. But they vanish the same day that her father is accused of ratting. As Kellyanne fades with grief, her brother discovers he must start to believe in Pobby and Dingan too, if he is to save her.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 90 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape Ltd; 1st edition (5 Oct 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224061100
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224061100
  • Product Dimensions: 18.2 x 13.6 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,306,714 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Quirky, moving and completely unexpected. It will charm all but the most dedicated cynic Sunday Telegraph 20020614 From its bold premise to its brave ending, Pobby and Dingan is full of surprises The Times 20020614 Quirky, moving and completely unexpected. It will charm all but the most determined cynic Daily Telegraph With Pobby and Dingan, Ben Rice makes a strong claim to be a leader of the new generation. This novel marks one of those debuts that may well turn out to have been of the greatest significance -- Robert McCrum Observer A delicate fable about faith-it shows the search for the impossible to be both touching and necessary The Sunday Times

Book Description

'Intensely moving and brilliantly realised - a pocket masterpiece' Observer --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A little gem 30 Aug 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I read this in one sitting and enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. Ben Rice is a young writer who shows supreme confidence in his ability - most inexperienced writers Write "cleverly," pack their prose with unnecessary description and generally try to impress the reader with their skill as a writer. Rice does none of this. This is a simple tale, simply told, through a child's voice and he doesn't beat the reader over the head with subtext and metaphor. This is not to say that Pobby and Dingan is one-dimensional - far from it - it's just that Rice lets the story speak for itself. Ashmol, the young boy through whose eyes the story is told is superbly realised and his observations about the small mining town and its inhabitants are near perfect. With a very few changes to language this could have been marketed as a children's book - although suitable for adults also - and, given its short length I found myself wondering why it wasn't. I fully expect to see a movie based on this lovely novel in the not too distant future - hopefully it will be Australian/British low-budget and avoid Hollywood sentimentality. If you are looking for something that's simultaneously easy to read, thought-provoking and very moving I thoroughly recommend this.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A miniature gem 8 Oct 2000
Format:Hardcover
Never heard of Ben Rice? This is hardly surprising as 'Pobby and Dingan' is his first published work. It would be easy to bypass this long short story (or short long story) with the peculiar, embarrassingly childish, title. I chanced upon it and loved it!
What is real and what exists only in the imagination? Ashmol Williamson, a young boy living with his parents and sister Kellyanne in an opal mining community in Eastern Australia, has been told countless times by his father that 'there's something in that earth with the name Williamson on it.' Needless to say, the 'something' is taking rather a long time to materialise. Meanwhile, Kellyanne walks around the town of Lightning Ridge with her imaginary friends Pobby and Dingan. Her behaviour exasperates her family but she is treated with indulgent seriousness by the 'older softer folks' who even greet Pobby and Dingan in the street and give them lollipops. Ashmol just thinks his sister is a 'fruit-loop'. Kellyanne's quaintness, and the family's increasing sense of frustration as she persists with her fantasy, are portrayed with gentle humour in the early part of the story. But when Pobby and Dingan are 'lost' and Kellyanne becomes ill, the family hits a crisis.
In 'Pobby and Dingan', Ben Rice has written with confidence and subtlety. Each detail is well-chosen and relevant. Rice has the ability to define character with a few simple references. There is the 'Pommy' mother with her regrets about the privileged life she has left behind in England coupled with her affection for the family and belief in their Aussie way of life. There is the fat funeral director, Mr Dan Dunkley, eyeing up an extraordinary opportunity to get rich quick.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect, just perfect 26 May 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have read this book several times and bought it for countless people as a present - I just love it. Heart-breakingly sad, genuinely moving, but not in a cringey way at all. The belief that fairy tales come true and that your imaginary friends are real is something we can all identify with. And the twist at the end is staggering.
Admittedly the second story in this book ('Parachutes') is disappointing, but don't let that put you off. 'Pobby And Dingham' may be short, but it's perfectly formed.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pobby and Dingan 12 July 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Superb! A beautiful story exploring the depths of a child's imagination and the effects of that on the rest of the family and the community they live in. A beautiful and evocotive ending. Well worth reading. It won't take you long but you'll savour every moment and you'll be left with the haunting vision of the little girl holding 2 lollipops in the vast, almost other- worldly Australian outback. Hope there's more in the pipeline from Ben Rice.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A jewell of a book 20 Oct 2000
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This story of a boy's confusion and misery as his sister is dying is an 'un-put-downable' read . By turns sad and funny, it describes Ashmol's gradual acceptance of how real his sister's imaginary friends Pobby and Dingan are to her. As real to her as is the huge opal he will find one day to their father. It's hard to believe that Rice didn't grow up in an opal mining community in Australia, his use of an apparently accurate dialect seems so right and the characters he has written so substantial. I enjoyed every word - even when I was weeping.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Magical 7 Jan 2004
By Luanne
Format:Paperback
Don't let the length of this book put you off. It is short, very short, more of an extended short story, but it is beautifully written, ideal for reading over a cup of tea one afternoon. The writing style is simplistic, which echoes wonderfully the thoughts of the child. It reads like a fairytale for adults, but there is nothing schmaltzy about this book. It is poignant, sad, heart-warming, thought-provoking.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Literary Landmark! 8 Aug 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book has already received considerable attention but by no means as much as it deserves. In just eighty or so pages Rice displays every hallmark of the sort of literary genius one would be privilleged to encounter just once in a generation. This quiet, persuasive novella promises to shape the future of the Australian novel quite as convincingly as Huck Finn did for its American counterpart. Like Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea, Pobby and Dingan contains not a superfluous word. The narrative is masterfully handled and Rice displays that rarest of gifts, the capacity to realise a complete imaginative world. It is the very worst indictment of populist, profit-driven publishing that this work of Chechovian perfection, did not even appear on the Booker prize shortlist.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars 'Everybody has an imaginary friend of some kind, even if you don't...
Two pleasant enough short stories of around 90 and 50 pages respectively.
Pobby & Dingan is set among the opal mines of Australia, where young Kellyanne Williamson escapes her... Read more
Published 3 months ago by sally tarbox
4.0 out of 5 stars Short and sweet
When Kellyanne's imaginary friends disappear, she quickly slides into a mysterious illness. Although big brother Ashmol has never believed in Pobby and Dingan himself, he decides... Read more
Published on 25 July 2012 by neverendings
2.0 out of 5 stars Better for Children
This is a well meaning novello, but it really is more suited to the younger reader. The characterisation of the main characters are a little patronising. Read more
Published on 30 May 2010 by JF
2.0 out of 5 stars Pobby And Dingan Specks in the Sky
Not very impressed - not much meat in these stories. Just my opinion but I won't be reading any more by this author.
Published on 3 Feb 2009 by Sue M
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous little book
I love this little book, have read it more than once, lent it more than once and given it as a present more than once. Read more
Published on 31 July 2007 by Lucy Feather
5.0 out of 5 stars lovely and amazing
heartbreakingly beautiful and moving, this book is one of my very favorites. filmic descriptions of down under coupled with truly original characterizations serve the reader well... Read more
Published on 11 Mar 2004 by Jill McIntyre
5.0 out of 5 stars A modern fairy tale, rich with meaning
As a subscriber to 'Granta' with too much to read, I've only just got around to the 'Australia' issue. Read more
Published on 16 Feb 2002 by R. L. Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars A Pocket Masterpiece
I first came across this novella in Granta 70 entitled 'Australia', and knowingly overlooked it. The title seemed silly, and having read the opening page, I thought, "I don't want... Read more
Published on 25 Sep 2001
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