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Pobby and Dingan Hardcover – 5 Oct 2000

4.5 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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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 (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,110,415 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Quirky, moving and completely unexpected. It will charm all but the most dedicated cynic" (Sunday Telegraph)

"From its bold premise to its brave ending, Pobby and Dingan is full of surprises" (The Times)

"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) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

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

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 30 Aug. 2002
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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 - hinted at - unhappy life at school, to focus on her two eponymous imaginary friends. But when they fail to come home in the ute with Dad, Kellyanne takes sick. Narrated by her - at first scornful- older brother, Ashmol, we see the townsfolk rallying round to find them, and restore Kellyanne to health...

Specks in the Sky seemed to start off as a vastly more compelling tale, but all seemed to fall apart at the end (whereas the strongest part of Pobby & Dingan was the final page.) Here a lone mother and her two daughters, out on a run-down camel ranch in USA, look up one day to see fourteen parachutists, led by the Commander, landing in their backyard. But are these charming and helpful young men all they seem?...

Aimed at the teenage reader; perhaps they would have been better left as magazine stories (which is where they first appeared: in Granta and the New Yorker). But quite readable.
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By A Customer on 8 Aug. 2002
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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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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By A Customer on 12 July 2002
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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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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