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Mister Pip Hardcover – July 31, 2007

4.2 out of 5 stars 206 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A promising though ultimately overwrought portrayal of the small rebellions and crises of disillusionment that constitute a young narrator's coming-of-age unfolds against an ominous backdrop of war in Jones's latest. When the conflict between the natives and the invading redskin soldiers erupts on an unnamed tropical island in the early 1990s, 13-year-old Matilda Laimo and her mother, Dolores, are unified with the rest of their village in their efforts for survival. Amid the chaos, Mr. Watts, the only white local (he is married to a native), offers to fill in as the children's schoolteacher and teaches from Dickens's Great Expectations. The precocious Matilda, who forms a strong attachment to the novel's hero, Pip, uses the teachings as escapism, which rankles Dolores, who considers her daughter's fixation blasphemous. With a mixture of thrill and unease, Matilda discovers independent thought, and Jones captures the intricate, emotionally loaded evolution of the mother-daughter relationship. Jones (The Book of Fame; Biografi) presents a carefully laid groundwork in the tense interactions between Matilda, Dolores and Mr. Watts, but the extreme violence toward the end of the novel doesn't quite work. Jones's prose is faultless, however, and the story is innovative enough to overcome the misplayed tragedy. (July)
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From Bookmarks Magazine

Winner of the Commonwealth Writers' Overall Prize for Best Book and short-listed for the Booker Prize, Mister Pip delighted critics with its beautiful prose, compelling characters, and humane exploration of literature's power. They especially lauded Matilda, who learns to identify with Pip and, in the process, heals the rift with her mother. Not every scene is heartrending, however: this story is framed by rape, murder, and civil war. Some reviewers noted a few whiffs of paternalism from the author, some awkward dialogue, too much foreshadowing, and an odd ending. But in its exploration of how literature can bring joy amid great suffering, Mister Pip is a heartwarming and worthwhile coming-of-age novel.

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: The Dial Press; First Edition edition (July 31, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385341067
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385341066
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (206 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,586,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Foster Corbin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 21, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Emily Dickinson's famous lines "there is no frigate like a book to take us miles away" could not be more apropros of Lloyd Jones' magical MISTER PIP. Matilda, the narrator, is a black child entering puberty living in New Guinea when we first meet her. Her beloved father has left her and her mother to seek his fortune in Australia and try to, in the words of her mum, "turn into a white man." Matilda becomes fascinated, as does the reader, with the only white man on her island, Mr. Watts (some days he wore a red clown's nose), nicknamed by the children of the village "Pop Eye." His wife is a black woman named Grace whom he often pulls around on a trolley. When war breaks out and many people flee the settlement, Mr. Watts teaches the remaining island children. He reads aloud to his spellbound students Charles Dickens' GREAT EXPECTATIONS, which he describes as the greatest novel by the greatest English writer of the nineteenth century. Dickens' character Pip makes an indelible impression on the young Matilda and becomes much more real to her than dead relatives. Much of the conflict in this beautifully crafted story has to do with the tension between Mr. Watts, who does not believe in a god, and Matilda's mother Dolores, a devout believer in the Good Book. Matilda sees many parallels between her life and that of the fictional Pip. As an adult she remembers his confession,"it is a most miserable thing to feel ashamed of home" and thinks of her island. That passage and many others she sees as "personal touchstones."

Mr. Jones' narrative will hold you in its spell, and you will long remember Mr. Watts. Like many teachers, he is part charlatan, part magician, but also a kind and loving mentor.
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Format: Hardcover
"Mister Pip" by Lloyd Jones is the wondrous coming-of-age story about Matilda Laimo, a 13-year old Papua New Guinean child living on the island of Bougainville. It is an enchanting, lyrical, lush, and politically powerful tale by a prize-winning author of world-standing literary ability. The book has already won the 2007 Commonwealth Prize for literature and is currently among thirteen titles longlisted for the 2007 Booker Prize. It has been sold for distribution in the United States for an unprecedented sum; even if the author fails to win the Booker Prize, it will still make him a millionaire. If the book wins the Booker Prize, it is destined to be a big-time modern literary and popular crossover bestseller.

The story is set in 1991. The mainland Papua New Guinean government is involved in a civil war with the inhabitants of Bougainville, a large island off its southeastern edge--an island abundant in gold and copper resources. The population and culture of Bougainville is more similar to the Solomon Islands archipelago. where it belongs geographically rather than to any of the diverse mainland tribes of Papua New Guinea. As the novel begins, the child is barely aware of the conflict. She is black, and she views the invading government forces as foreign redskins.

Matilda lives in a tranquil primitive coastal village of no more than 60 people. They live in dirt-floored huts, and easily get all the food they need from the surrounding bountiful jungle and ocean. But in 1991, everything changes when the government chooses to blockade the island. Subsequently, all white people, including the village's teacher, missionary, doctor, etc., take the last boat off the island. All leave except Mr.
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Format: Hardcover
This novel is narrated by a black girl named Matilda who is reflecting on her time growing up in an island's small village on the fringes of war-torn Papua New Guinea. The village regularly receives news and gossip about the ongoing conflict between the perceived "red-skin invading government" and the black rebels made up of many young men from local villages. They hear about the vandalism and destruction of communities as well as the gruesome murder of many innocent civilians caught in the civil war. However, Matilda is only vaguely aware of this happening in the back ground. At first, she's more concerned with the daily details of life with her protective mother (her father left them some time ago to do business in Australia), playing with her friends and wondering about the local oddity - Mr. Watts (or Pop Eye as the children call him), the only white man in the village, who is occasionally found pulling his mysterious black wife in a cart while wearing a red clown nose. When the children are left with no teacher, Mr. Watts surprisingly comes forward to educate all the local children. However, with no formal teaching skills, he spends the majority of class time reading aloud to them from the novel Great Expectations. Matilda is enraptured by the story and comes to think of its characters as her friends, finding common themes between Pip's life and her own. However, her strict Christian mother is less than pleased about the way Mr. Watts is influencing her daughter. When the fighters come to Matilda's small village, the girl's adoration for the character Pip inadvertently causes a conflict which throws the village into chaos and threatens their peaceful existence.

Jones masterfully re-creates life within this small village using straight-forward, beautifully-wrought prose.
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