Mister Pip, by Lloyd Jones

Second paragraph of third chapter:

‘Class, we are very lucky today,’ began Mr Watts. ‘Mrs Kabui has agreed to share with us the remarkable life and times of the heart seed.’

A short but very powerful book, about the power of literature to transcend the horrors of humanity. Mr Watts brings education to a remote part of Bougainville in the middle of the war there (probably the most horrible conflict in the Pacific since WW2, with 15-20,000 killed of a population of less than a quarter million). Pip from Great Expectations becomes a focal cultural reference point for Matilda and her neighbours, before war comes and destroys their world. After the dust has settled, Matilda finds out where Mr Watts actually came from; and her memories of him are not tarnished but enhanced as a result. It’s a grim read in places, but ultimately encouraging.

This came to the top of my list as the most popular of my unread non-sf/fantasy books on LibraryThing. Next on that list is Selected Stories by Alice Munro.

Mister Pip

One thought on “Mister Pip, by Lloyd Jones

  1. -Vengeance- and -Revelation- have some moments, as does -Mark of the Rani,- but I am struck by how thoroughly I have come to despise -Attack of the Cybermen- since I re-watched it in my thirties. It seems to embody everything cruel and thoughtless about the program’s low points in one dripping package.

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