Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An exercise in different types of storytelling, 27 Jun. 2008
This review is from: Mister Pip (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.

Other stories are told - Mr Pip's account of his former life, related to the 'Rambos', the black guerrillas - romantic, and fictitious, as revealed by June Watts later in the book.

Against this are set the values of the village women - the folk wisdom they reveal in the classroom, and the stance taken by Matilda's mother. Lloyd Jones portrays Bougainville in some detail (and this part of the book could have been shortened) and in contrast to the values of white society. The author has developed the theme of 'culture clash' in the displays set up in the spare room, at first an attempt to meld tribal/Western values, but later, and inevitably, separating out into distinct parts. One senses at the end of the novel that Matilda, an accomplished scholar apparently well-integrated into white society, is has herself become torn between the two and may well choose to return to her cultural, as well as her physical home.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

3.9 out of 5 stars (153 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (60)
4 star:
 (48)
3 star:
 (27)
2 star:
 (11)
1 star:
 (7)
 
 
 
£8.99 £6.29
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Reviewer

Mondoro
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   

Location: United Kingdom

Top Reviewer Ranking: 830