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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.
After the trouble starts and the soldiers arrive on Matilda’s island, there comes a time when all the white people have left. Only Mr Watts remains, and he wears a red nose and pulls his wife around on a trolley; the kids call him Popeye behind his back. But there is no one else to teach them their lessons, and no books left to learn from—except for Mr Watts’s battered copy of Great Expectations, ‘by my friend Mr Dickens’.
As Mr Watts stands before the class and reads, Dickens’s hero, Pip, starts to come alive in Matilda’s imagination. Soon he has become as real to her as her own family, and the greatest friendship of her life has begun.
But Matilda is not the only one who believes in Pip. And on an island at war, the power of the imagination can be a dangerously provocative thing.
A dazzling achievement, Mister Pip is a love song to the power of storytelling. It is about belonging and losing one’s way, about love, grief and memory, and it shows how books can change our lives forever.
‘Mister Pip is a rare, original and truly beautiful novel. It reminds us that every act of reading and telling is a transformation, and that stories, even painful ones, may carry possibilities of redemption.’
‘As compelling as a fairytale—beautiful, shocking and profound.’
‘Roll the drums. Flourish the trumpets. Release the pigeons. Yes, the fanfare accompanying Lloyd Jones’ new novel is well-deserved…It reads like the effortless soar and dip of a grand piece of music, thrilling singular voices, the darker, moving chorus, the blend of the light and shade, the thread of grief urgent in every beat and the occasional faint, lingering note of hope…Jones is matchless…Read this novel and Mr Watts, and perhaps Matilda, will migrate instantly into your heart.‘
‘A poignant and impressive work which can take its place alongside the classic novels of adolescence.’
‘Lloyd Jones brings to life the transformative power of fiction…This is a beautiful book, It is tender, multi-layered and redemptive’