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Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones
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Mister Pip (original 2006; edition 2007)

by Lloyd Jones

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,8431622,044 (3.81)412
Member:tiffin
Title:Mister Pip
Authors:Lloyd Jones
Info:The Dial Press (2007), Hardcover, 272 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Modern New Zealand Lit.

Work details

Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones (2006)

Recently added bygennyrebecca, thukpa, CydMelcher, MaureenCean, private library
  1. 50
    Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (cbl_tn, HelenGress)
    cbl_tn: Mister Pip explores the reading and interpretation of Great Expectations in a late 20th century South Sea island culture in the midst of a civil war.
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» See also 412 mentions

English (151)  Spanish (2)  Danish (2)  Swedish (2)  French (2)  Italian (1)  Hebrew (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (162)
Showing 1-5 of 151 (next | show all)
I really enjoyed this book, although at times it was incredibly gruesome and sad. Illustrates the power of education and the importance of community. ( )
  tashlyn88 | Feb 5, 2016 |
'Mr Pip' is set in the island of Bougainville, part of Papua New Guinea, during the civil war of the 1980s. Mr Watts is the only white person in the district, an eccentric but likeable man married to Grace, one of the island's previous top students whom he met in Australia. He takes on the role of teacher to the children of the district. The story is related by Matilda, a fourteen-year-old, who in her turn is one of Mr Watts' top students.

Mr Watts uses 'Great Expectations' as an introduction to literature and language, and more; the whole book uses it as a theme, and Matilda becomes more and more involved with the person of Pip who stars in the story.

I certainly learned something about this island and its people, and some of the horrors of the war. But it was written in the kind of style that entirely failed to move me, even when it was shocking towards the end.

I suspect I don't really get 'literary fiction': this book has been highly acclaimed and was on the Man Booker prize shortlist. Possibly because it is undoubtedly original. However the characterisation and descriptions were rather flat, and the ending tried to tie up a lot of ends in a somewhat implausible way.

I was lent the book, and am glad I read it; but it's not really my kind of book. ( )
  SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
A young girl in a forgotten island where war has installed itself.

This is the starting point for a brilliant story written by Lloyd Jones.

Matilda’s the young girl that narrates the whole story, with the help of her unexpected teacher she strolls through the XIX century England, using as a guide the novel of Charles Dickens, “Great Expectations”.

This book tells us about courage, friendship and loyalty, it also points out the enormous atrocities that the human being is able to do, and it reminds us all that even though you can’t live through books, you can always find shelter in them, a place to hide when reality is so awful that either you escape it, or you lose yourself.

But the true aspect of the book, the one in which Matilda will find herself thinking constantly is the ability of a person to be himself, not the one that everybody pressures us to be, but to be true to our feelings and opinions and to stand by them, even if it means that by doing that we will be against everybody else.

I called myself Pip, and came to be called Pip.

A recommended reading for all of those that, like me, think a book is more than just a story, a book can be a friend. And I bet that in the end you’ll be friends of Matilda… and of that mysterious character called Mr. Pip. ( )
  csegura | Jan 18, 2016 |
Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones; (5*)

Amazing!
What a beautifully written coming of age story Jones has given us. A lovely, poetic gift from his mind and hand.
The story takes place on a lush tropical Pacific Isle.
The protagonist, Matilda, is the daughter of a native Christian woman and her father has gone to work on the mainland. For a while Matilda believed her mother when she said they would soon follow him but she came to realize that they were never going to leave the island.
Most of the men from the village have gone but there remain many women and children. One of the men, Mr. Watts, who does remain is the only white man in the village. With the teacher gone Mr. Watts decides to take over the teaching of the children. And he decides to begin with his favorite piece of literature: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. He and Matilda quickly come to share a love of this work and the character, Pip, becomes a great part of this story.
Beautifully written, both lyrically and visually, this book took my breath away. Even the horror of a warring army invading this village numerous times and committing atrocities was unable to take my mind off the beauty of this book.
Highly recommended. ( )
  rainpebble | Aug 22, 2015 |
Overall, I really liked [Mr. Pip]. It is a story of how literature can take us out of a place and into another place, no matter where we are or who we are. It's about how stories help us relate to one another. It is also a story of war and fear and survival. It is well written and thoughtful. The only complaint I have is that there was no real sense of place. It's vaguely Papua New Guinea, but also not positively there. The author may have wanted to avoid commenting on any specific place or situation, which is fine, but I struggle a little when I can't solidly plant the feet of my imagination in a Place.

Quotes:

By the time Mr.Watts reached the end of chapter one I felt like I had been spoken to by this boy Pip. This boy who I couldn't see to touch but knew by ear. I had found a new friend.
The surprising thing is where I'd found him - not up a tree or sulking in the shade, or splashing around in one of the hill streams, but in a book. No one had told us kids to look there for a friend.
Or that you could slip inside the skin of another.

A doctor would have said I was suffering from depression. Everything I have read since suggests this was the case. But when you are in the grip of something like that it doesn't usually announce itself. No. What happens is you sit in a dark, dark cave and you wait. If you are lucky there is a pinprick of light, and if you are especially lucky that pinprick will grow larger and larger, until one day the cave appears to slip behind, and just like that you find yourself in daylight and free. This is how it happened for me.
( )
  nittnut | Jul 19, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lloyd Jonesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hyllienmark, OlovTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
'Characters migrate.' Umberto Eco
Dedication
To my family
First words
Everyone called him Pop Eye.
Quotations
"...you cannot pretend to read a book. Your eyes will give you away. So will your breathing. A person entranced by a book simply forgets to breathe. The house can catch alight and a reader deep in a book will not look up until the wallpaper is in flames." (page 155)"
"A Prayer was like a tickle. Sooner or later God would have to look down to see what was tickling his bum."
I do not know what you are supposed to do with memories likes these. It feels wrong to want to forget. Perhaps this is why we write these things down, so we can move on."
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Book description
'You cannot pretend to read a book. Your eyes will give you away. So will your breathing. A person entranced by a book simply forgets to breathe. The house can catch alight and a reader deep in a book will not look up until the wallpaper is in flames.'

Bougainville. 1991. A small village on a lush tropical island in the South Pacific. Eighty-six days have passed since Matilda's last day of school as, quietly, war is encroaching from the other end of the island.

When the villagers' safe, predictable lives come to a halt, Bougainville's children are surprised to find the island's only white man, a recluse, re-opening the school. Pop Eye, aka Mr Watts, explains he will introduce the children to Mr Dickens. Matilda and the others think a foreigner is coming to the island and prepare a list of much needed items. They are shocked to discover their acquaintance with Mr Dickens will be through Mr Watts' inspiring reading of Great Expectations.

But on an island at war, the power of fiction has dangerous consequences. Imagination and beliefs are challenged by guns. Mister Pip is an unforgettable tale of survival by story; a dazzling piece of writing that lives long in the mind after the last page is finished.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385341075, Paperback)

In a novel that is at once intense, beautiful, and fablelike, Lloyd Jones weaves a transcendent story that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the power of narrative to transform our lives.

On a copper-rich tropical island shattered by war, where the teachers have fled with most everyone else, only one white man chooses to stay behind: the eccentric Mr. Watts, object of much curiosity and scorn, who sweeps out the ruined schoolhouse and begins to read to the children each day from Charles Dickens’s classic Great Expectations.

So begins this rare, original story about the abiding strength that imagination, once ignited, can provide. As artillery echoes in the mountains, thirteen-year-old Matilda and her peers are riveted by the adventures of a young orphan named Pip in a city called London, a city whose contours soon become more real than their own blighted landscape. As Mr. Watts says, “A person entranced by a book simply forgets to breathe.” Soon come the rest of the villagers, initially threatened, finally inspired to share tales of their own that bring alive the rich mythology of their past. But in a ravaged place where even children are forced to live by their wits and daily survival is the only objective, imagination can be a dangerous thing.


From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:58 -0400)

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On a copper-rich tropical island shattered by war, on which survival is a daily struggle, eccentric Mr. Watts, the only white man left after the other teachers flee, spends his day reading to the local children from Charles Dickens' classic Great Expectations.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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