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Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones

Mister Pip (original 2006; edition 2010)

by Lloyd Jones

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,7841582,103 (3.81)408
Title:Mister Pip
Authors:Lloyd Jones
Info:Perfection Learning (2010), Hardcover, 256 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones (2006)

  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.
  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
    Little Bee 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

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English (147)  Spanish (2)  Danish (2)  Swedish (2)  French (2)  Italian (1)  Hebrew (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (158)
Showing 1-5 of 147 (next | show all)
Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones; (5*)

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.


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 |
NB: Read Great Expectations (ie, finish it) first.
  Cormorant777 | Feb 1, 2015 |
This is a beautiful story that grabs the attention immediately. Until about halfway through the book I thought it would warrant five-stars but then it took a different direction and lost steam towards the end.

One problem with the book is that it inspired no sense of place. I couldn't relate the book with the place. It prompted me to read some articles about Papua New Guinea, none of which sounded remotely like the country in Jones' story. What attracted me in the beginning was that someone without any teaching experience was using Great Expectations to give children a school-like experience. I fully expected it to continue in that vein and was disappointed. The details about civil war and mining were tantalizing, without actually providing any real information - although I could have done without the more gruesome parts. Maybe Jones thought as it was all so recent the reader would be more well-informed.

Still, this winner of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for First Book is a good read. ( )
  VivienneR | Dec 11, 2014 |
Bougainville, eine kleine Insel im pazifischen Ozean, deren Name ich bisher eher mit der ebenfalls nach ihrem Namensgeber benannten Pflanze Bougainvillea in Verbindung brachte, ist der Schauplatz dieses Romans, der sich vor dem realen Hintergrund des dortigen, von der Weltöffentlichkeit fast unbemerkten Bürgerkrieges abspielt. Tausende von Menschen starben damals, darunter viele Zivilisten, unter anderem auch infolge der Blockade, die das Eiland von sämlichen Lieferungen incl. Lebensmittel und Medikamente abriegelte.
Auch Mathilda, ein 'dünnes vierzehnjähriges Ding', spürt die Auswirkungen. Von ihrem Vater, der in Australien arbeitet, bekommen sie und ihre Mutter keine Nachrichten mehr und alle Ausländer verlassen nach und nach die Insel, so auch ihre Lehrerin. Lediglich der etwas schrullige Mr. Watts mit seiner einheimischen Frau Grace bleiben und nach einiger Zeit bietet er sich als Lehrer für die verbliebenen Kinder an. Sein 'Hauptprojekt' ist das tägliche Vorlesen eines Kapitels aus 'Große Erwartungen' von Charles Dickens, dem 'größten Roman des größten englischen Schriftstellers aus dem 19. Jahrhundert'. Nicht nur Mathilda ist begeistert, doch für sie wird der Waisenjunge Pip, die Hauptfigur, zu einem richtigen Freund und sie lernt zum ersten Mal in ihrem Leben eine neue Welt kennen - sehr zum Missfallen ihrer gottesfürchtigen Mutter. Doch es bleibt nicht bei den verhältnismäßig kleinen Unstimmigkeiten: Der Bürgerkrieg rückt in ihrem Dorf ein in Form einer Gruppe von Soldaten...
Jones beschreibt im Namen der 14jährigen Mathilda in bedachtsamer und aufmerksamer Form, was Literatur im Menschen bewirken kann: Wie die Phantasie sich Bahn bricht, fiktive Gestalten immer realere Formen annehmen im Guten wie im Schlechten und dass das Zurückziehen in seine eigene Gedankenwelt dennoch Kraft, Hoffnung und Trost geben kann - gerade in schlimmen Zeiten. Ein schönes Buch, das zum Lesen animiert - und besonders zum Lesen der 'Großen Erwartungen' ;-) ( )
  Xirxe | Dec 2, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lloyd Jonesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hyllienmark, OlovTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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'Characters migrate.' Umberto Eco
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Everyone called him Pop Eye.
"...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.
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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)

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2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 1921145579, 1921520248

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