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 tropical island, only one white person stays behind. Mr Watts wears a red nose and pulls his wife around on a trolley. The kids call him Pop Eye. But there is no one else to teach them their lessons. Mr Watts begins to read aloud to the class from his battered copy of Great Expectations, a book by his friend Mr Dickens.
Soon Dickens' hero Pip starts to come alive for Matilda. She writes his name in the sand and decorates it with shells. Pip becomes as real to her as her own mother, 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.
Lloyd Jones has created a moving fable about the capacity for stories to transform the world.
‘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.’Gail Jones
‘As compelling as a fairytale—beautiful, shocking and profound.’Helen Garner
‘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.'Age
‘A poignant and impressive work which can take its place alongside the classic novels of adolescence.’Times Literary Supplement
‘Lloyd Jones brings to life the transformative power of fiction…This is a beautiful book, It is tender, multi-layered and redemptive’Sunday Times