Author(s): Lloyd Jones
Matilda lives on an island somewhere in the Pacific - but this is no paradise. Civil war is a fact of life, though at first the village is largely left alone by the soldiers and the rebel fighters. The school is closed but then Mr Watts, the only white man on the island, steps forward to do what he can to help.
He begins by reading Great Expectations aloud to his students, a chapter a day. Stories flourish on the island. While the lives of Pip and Magwitch and other Dickens' characters are transformed in their new tropical setting, the locals come to the schoolhouse to tell their own tales - about the meaning of the colour blue, about broken dreams, black birds and devil women.
In Matilda's eyes, Pip is as real as any living person. He has become her friend. She writes his name in the sand and decorates it with shells. That's where the redskin soldiers see it, and decide they must track this stranger down. Who is this Mr Pip?
The search to find him will have devastating consequences for Matilda, Mr Watts and the entire village.
Winner of Commonwealth Writers' Prize and Kiriyama Prize for Fiction (New Zealand) and Montana Medal for Fiction 2007 (New Zealand). Short-listed for Man Booker Prize.
`Sad, beautiful, poignant, moving and honest, this is a remarkable book.' * Good Book Guide * * London Review of Books *
`A novel about reading and writing and their impact on people's lives that can be read with pleasure by someone who has never known the power of Charles Dickens, or Great Expectations, and still make them hunger for more. . . Its fable-like quality is spellbinding; the depth of its insights compelling.' * Canberra Times *
`Lloyd Jones brings to life the transformative power of fiction ... The experience of reading in this book is tangible ...This is a beautiful book, It is tender, multi-layered and redemptive' -- Lucy Atkins * Sunday Times *
`Jones tactfully handles the confrontation between Mr Watts and Matilda's mother, aware that the mesmeric qualities of literature can be dangerous as well as redemptive. Only through Great Expectations does Matilda learn to see grown-ups as they really are. Morally subtle, Mister Pip has none of the arid cleverness that mars novels about books, making it a worthy winner of this year's Commonwealth Writers' Prize.' -- Jonathan Beckman * Daily Mail *
`A little Gauguin, a bit of Lord Jim, the novel's lyricism evokes great beauty and great pain.' * Kirkus Reviews *
`This prizewinning novel by New Zealand author Jones is an eloquent homage to the power of storytelling.' -- Joanne Wilkinson * STARRED Review, Booklist *
`As compelling as a fairytale-beautiful, shocking and profound.' -- Helen Garner
`For so brutal a reminder of atrocities so close to home, this is still an oddly satisfying book that goes on resonating long after you get to the end.' -- Kerryn Goldsworthy * Sydney Morning Herald *
'Jones' epigraph is Umberto Eco's "Characters migrate". They do. Read this novel and Mr Watts, and perhaps Matilda, will migrate instantly into your heart.' -- Helen Elliott * Age *
`Matilda is in the tradition of Holden Caulfield and Huck Finn, conjuring up an adult world before she can fully understand it; and Mister Pip is a poignant and impressive work which can take its place alongside the classic novels of adolescence.' * Times Literary Supplement *
`New Zealand writer Lloyd Jones's spare, haunting fable explores the power and limitations of art...' * Washington Post *
`One of the best books of the year! Poetic, heartbreaking, surprising. Matilda is a young girl in Bougainville, a tropical island where the horror of civil war lurks. Mr. Watts, the only white person, is the self appointed teacher of the tiny school where the only textbook is the Dickens novel Great Expectations. Storytelling, imagination, courage, beauty, memories and sudden violence are the main elements of this extraordinary book.' -- Isabel Allende
Lloyd Jones is one of New Zealand's best known contemporary writers. He has published essays and children's books but his best known works include the novels The Book of Fame, winner of numerous literary awards, Biografi, a New York Times Notable Book, Choo Woo, Here at the End of the World We Learn to Dance, Paint Your Wife, Hand Me Down World and the phenomenally successful Mister Pip, winner of the 2007 Commonwealth Writers' Prize, the Montana Medal for Fiction and the Kiriyama Writers' Prize. Mister Pip was also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2007. He lives in the Wairarapa.