HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones
Loading...

Mister Pip (original 2006; edition 2007)

by Lloyd Jones

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,6901532,205 (3.8)373
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)

  1. 40
    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.
  2. 20
    Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2810michael)
  3. 20
    Small Island by Andrea Levy (kathrynnd)
  4. 21
    The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne (Booksloth)
  5. 10
    Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2810michael)
  6. 43
    Life of Pi by Yann Martel (Booksloth)
  7. 10
    The Other Hand by Chris Cleave (Booksloth, 2810michael)
  8. 00
    Jack Maggs by Peter Carey (chanale)
    chanale: both novels that revisit Great Expectations
  9. 00
    Wanting by Richard Flanagan (2810michael)
    2810michael: Mostly because of the role of Charles Dickens in both books...
  10. 00
    Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson (kathrynnd)
  11. 00
    Mr. Timothy by Louis Bayard (bnbookgirl)
    bnbookgirl: tiny tim all grown up
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 373 mentions

English (143)  Danish (2)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (2)  French (2)  Hebrew (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (153)
Showing 1-5 of 143 (next | show all)
I'm going to start by saying that this book felt like a prolonged nightmare. Not at first. But then nightmares, my nightmares at least don't seem like nightmares at first either, they sort of lure you in, seem full of promise and charm so that by the time you go "Uh-oh, I'm not sure I want to keep watching this, it's getting too weird/scary/morbid/violent/sordid" you name it, you can't look away anymore, because you've got too much invested somehow. I'm not sure, now that I look back in retrospect why it is I went into this book so naively, without any notion at all of what to expect from it, because right there on the book jacket, on the interior flap of that very attractive slipcover, it did talk about an island where revolution is happening... here: I'll quote word for word what that flap said, because I'm sure I willed myself to ignore what it said and just kept in mind "Great Expectations" and how 'cute' "Mister Pip" sounded and just refused to acknowledge that things were bound to get ugly:

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

On a copper-rich tropical island shattered by war, from which the teachers have fled with almost 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. While 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—it turns out—is a dangerous thing."


Matilda is our narrator, and much to her chagrin, is forced to choose sides between her religiously zealous mother and the atheist Mr. Watts, whom everyone on the island has always called Popeye because of his physical appearance, though he decides at one point in the story, to his great hazard to call himself Mr. Pip. Matilda's mother is out to get revenge, because she feels Mr. Watts has turned Matilda's mind from her family and God, and made her believe instead in this imaginary world of Great Expectations, and to exact her revenge, she is not above putting the wellbeing of all the villagers at risk. Later on, Matilda, finds out what her mother has done, and though she disapproves of her actions, when given the choice of revealing her mother's treachery and keeping the villagers safe or instead keeping her mother free of shame, chooses the latter, and the repercussions just keep building up to greater and greater horrifying impact.

This is a story very well told, and for those who love fiction, it is a meaningful reflection on the power literature has on our lives. It is a great tribute to Dickens's work of course, and definitely made me want to revisit that specific work of his (that dear of Miss Havisham is so memorable!), though I'm not sure I'll be able to reread Great Expectations again without thinking of the horrors which happened in another fictional story on an unnamed island inhabited by a girl named Matilda, which I guess is a testament to what a powerful story Lloyd Jones put together here. Just be prepared for some difficult to swallow pieces here and there. ( )
1 vote Smiler69 | Aug 17, 2014 |
Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones is set on the Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville during a violent civil war there during the 1990s. As narrated by 13 year-old Matilda we learn how the villagers are caught in the middle, trying to keep their heads down and live their lives without drawing attention to themselves. One white man has remained in the village and has taken upon himself the role of teacher, but instead of regular class work, he reads them Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. He believes that Dickens has the power of great literature that will enable the children’s minds to be set free and bring them to “a place of light”. It doesn’t take long before the children are captivated by Pip’s story and it also isn’t long before the soldiers come and believing that this Pip is a rebel, demand to know where to find him.

Bloodshed is never far off on this island divided by war, with drunken rebels arriving one night, followed by brutal government soldiers the next. The author write of the atrocities in simple, almost dreamlike language that perfectly captures Matilda’s shock and pain. Yet again it is her love of Great Expectations and Dickens that helps to heal her and enables her to build a new life for herself.

The author manages to keep his tale from becoming too sentimental. His simple prose includes many phrases that sound culturally authentic. My only concern is that the reader is almost in danger of overdosing on Great Expectations. Yet, Mister Pip is wonderfully creative, a powerful and moving story of how an eccentric man guides these children through the horrors of a civil revolution by using the power of great writing to release their imaginations. ( )
2 vote DeltaQueen50 | Jul 18, 2014 |
I really loved this book. Loved it so much, I wrote a letter to the author, c/o his US publisher. I wonder if eventually it will get to him.

Set in Bougainville during the civil war of the 1990s, the story is told by Matilda, a teenage girl. As connections with the outside world drop, due to war, the children in Matilda's village gather to be taught by Mr. Watts, the village's one outsider, a white man, whose lessons consist largely in reading Great Expectations. But the drama of the story comes from the conflict between Mr. Watts and Matilda's mother, and its resolution, through the medium of storytelling, is very, very moving.

I knew I'd love the story when, after the government soldiers have been through the village and killed a dog, Matilda thinks this thought:

You saw how disrespectful the sun could be, and how dumb the palms were to flutter back at the sea and up at the sky. The great shame of trees is that they have no conscience. They just go on staring.

Mr. Watts has the parents and grandparents come into class to share their wisdom. One grandmother, also an eventual casualty of the conflict, shares this about the color blue:

"Blue also has magical powers," she said. "You watch a reef and tell me if I am lying. Blue crashes onto a reef and what color does it release? It releases white! Now, how does it do that?

There's sadness in this book, real sadness. But hope too. I highly recommend it. ( )
1 vote FrancescaForrest | May 12, 2014 |
I really loved this book. Loved it so much, I wrote a letter to the author, c/o his US publisher. I wonder if eventually it will get to him.

Set in Bougainville during the civil war of the 1990s, the story is told by Matilda, a teenage girl. As connections with the outside world drop, due to war, the children in Matilda's village gather to be taught by Mr. Watts, the village's one outsider, a white man, whose lessons consist largely in reading Great Expectations. But the drama of the story comes from the conflict between Mr. Watts and Matilda's mother, and its resolution, through the medium of storytelling, is very, very moving.

I knew I'd love the story when, after the government soldiers have been through the village and killed a dog, Matilda thinks this thought:

You saw how disrespectful the sun could be, and how dumb the palms were to flutter back at the sea and up at the sky. The great shame of trees is that they have no conscience. They just go on staring.

Mr. Watts has the parents and grandparents come into class to share their wisdom. One grandmother, also an eventual casualty of the conflict, shares this about the color blue:

"Blue also has magical powers," she said. "You watch a reef and tell me if I am lying. Blue crashes onto a reef and what color does it release? It releases white! Now, how does it do that?

There's sadness in this book, real sadness. But hope too. I highly recommend it. ( )
  FrancescaForrest | May 12, 2014 |
“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.”

Matilda is a headstrong intelligent girl rebelling against her conservative mother in the absence of her working father, making and losing friends in the village and courting the favour of her teacher by throwing herself headlong into a fictional world. So far, so coming-of-age story. Except Matilda lives on “the island” (Bougainville), and the “redskins” and the “rambos” are fighting for independence and Matilda’s village has been cut off from the rest of the world for a few years. Surrounded by chaos, Matilda is entranced by her teacher’s reading of Great Expectations.

The infatuation with Dickens’ Victorian England, with Pip, the loyalty to whom exceeds all reason and some sanity, the jealousy of Estella, is both cute and satisfying. Matilda is transfixed by this other world, the idea of a frosty morning, the idea of London, when she knows nothing more than her tropical cul-de-sac. She takes ownership of Pip fiercely, passionately. But I think all avid readers like to see reading and literature worshipped; a validation of our own addiction. And so I loved Matilda for her need of the story, her yearning for the next chapter.

Jones has written amazing characters in this novel. Mr Watts the stranded white man, displaying public and private loyalty to his mad wife, earning the derision of the villagers. Mr Watts the teacher, stepping in when the government teachers were extracted to safety, teaching the one text he knew and loved and happened to have with him. Mr Watts the peacemaker, keeping the rambos occupied with fireside stories from his early life to keep the fragile calm intact.

Dolores* tries to hold her life together with both hands, to keep her daughter on the straight and narrow, and isn’t afraid to storm into the classroom and tell tales of witches and devils to counteract Mr Watts and his apathetic atheism. She is stubbornly faithful to all she holds dear, even at exceptional personal cost.

Susan Lyons reads this exceptionally – a quiet Pacific island accent for Matilda, a much stronger one for Dolores, and shades of Australian when needed. I assume Lyons is Australian although you wouldn’t know it from the consistency of Matilda’s voice.

Definitely, definitely recommended. Beware the sudden violence about 75% of the way through though.

*I can’t ever write or say the word “Dolores” without thinking it should be followed by “Landingham”, after President Bartlet’s beloved executive assistant in West Wing. ( )
1 vote readingwithtea | Dec 18, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 143 (next | show all)
added by lucyknows | editscis (pay site)
 

» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lloyd Jonesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hyllienmark, OlovTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
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."
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:37:31 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

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)

» see all 8 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
129 avail.
105 wanted
7 pay9 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.8)
0.5 2
1 14
1.5 2
2 35
2.5 19
3 183
3.5 86
4 356
4.5 57
5 164

Audible.com

Three editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Penguin Australia

Two editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 1921145579, 1921520248

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 92,274,549 books! | Top bar: Always visible