Saturday, November 3, 2007

Mister Pip

Title: Mister Pip
Author: Llyod Jones
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 256
Edition: Hardcover

"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".

Its 1990's. A civil war breaks out in a small tropical island, as the redskin soldiers invade the natives. All the whites flee the island, as the redskins raid the village looking for rebels and kills people who aids them. One White man chooses to stay behind. Mr.Watts. He is also known as 'Pop Eye' (as his eyes appear as if they are about to pop out of his face). On rare occasions, he wears a red clown nose, and pulls his wife, Grace (a black woman), along in a trolley, a sight that usually gathers a crowd of curious onlookers. When the local school teacher flees, Mr.Watts fills in for him. However, he has no teaching skills. He chooses to read aloud a chapter from 'Great Expectations' every day, much to the delight of the school children.

Matilda, a 13-year-old village girl, soon finds herself enraptured by the character 'Pip' and the Victorian England. When she playfully writes the name 'Pip' in the sand one day, the redskins mistake it for a rebel. They torture the villagers either to surrender 'Pip' or incur their wrath. During one of the interrogations about 'Pip', a student blurts out that Pip belongs to Dickens. When the question arises to who Dickens is, they point to Mr.Watts. Now, Its up to Mr.Watts, the eccentric 'Pop Eye', to save the village from impending violence.

Jones' writing is seductive...powerful...magical...He writes with great imagination and flair. His elegant prose will keep you riveted to the book from page one. I didn't get a chance to read all the Booker prize nominees (except Ian McEwan's 'On Chesil Beach'). But after reading this novel, I truly felt sad that Lloyd Jones didn't win the 'Booker'. I beseech you to read this truly enchanting novel.

My Rating: 4.5/5


Lovely Lotus has awarded me the 'Schmooze Award' . Thank you so much Lotus, You are so kind!

This award is for the bloggers who “effortlessly weave their way in and out of the blogosphere, leaving friendly trails and smiles, happily making new friends along the way. They don’t limit their visits to only the rich and successful, but spend some time to say hello to new blogs as well. They are the ones who engage others in meaningful conversations, refusing to let it end at a mere hello - all the while fostering a sense of closeness and friendship.”

I would love to pass on this award to Wendy at "Musings of a Bookish Kitty".


Lotus Reads said...

Hi, Chitts!

I have been waiting for you to review this book and after reading what you have to say I am rushing to place my order for it at "Chapters" (our local bookstore).

The characters sound so delightful and I love the role that literature, in the form of "Great Expectations", plays in the story.

One question you have to be familiar with "Great Expectations" to enjoy the book?

Finally, yes, it would have been so great for Lloyd Jones to have won. A pity that we in North America are not more exposed to literature from New Zealand. If this particular book had not shown up on the Booker list many of us would have been deprived of what seems to be a really great novel.

Thank you for the wonderful review, Chitts, am off to buy a copy.

Are you planning reading Indra Sinha's book? I might get that too.

Happy Reader said...

@Lotus ~ Glad you asked that question! Infact, I forgot to mention ~ You don't need to be familiar with "Great Expectations" to enjoy this book. I wasn't, but I really enjoyed it!!

Jones mentions some great snippets from GE, but its more about how the character Pip influences the lives of the villagers, especially the sweet child Matilda.

According to Guardian "Mister Pip is the first of Jones's six novels to have travelled from his native New Zealand to the UK". I look forward to reading more of his novels.

I am definitely planning on reading Indra Sinha's Book as well. I heard some rave reviews about it.

hellomelissa said...

the book sounds fantastic. i love both dickens' novel and the film with ethan hawke (so sue me).

Canary said...

Hey! dropped in from Lotus reads' blog.. having a nice fly :)


karmic said...

Thank you for your review. This book does sound like a must read.

Milan-zzz said...

I came here from lotus's blog and I think I'll be regular. there are so many great titles. Majority of them I have on my tbr or wish list or I've read it.
Mister Pip is on my wish list though.
Cheers from Serbia!

I'm using my old blog to post comments since it's not possible with blog other than blogspot. However if you'd like to check my blog you'll find like on the old one :)

Literary Feline said...

Thank you so much! I'm blushing!

I am glad you don't need to be too familiar with Great Expectations to read this book. That was one of my worries, I admit. Thank you for the great review!

Happy Reader said...

@Melissa ~ Never heard about the movie version. Ethan hawke looks charismatic.
@Canary ~ Thanks for stopping by! You have some interesting posts.
@Sanjay ~ Nice to see your comment. It was an interesting book. I hope you get a chance to read it.
@Milan ~ Thanks for visiting my blog! I'm so excited to have found your blog. Lot of great stuff! Will visit you soon.
@Wendy ~ I was so worried I even thought about reading GE first. I was pressed for time, I decided to give it a try anyway. Lucky me! Like Lotus mentioned, had it not been on the Booker, We would have missed this book. Its such a great book!!

Radha said...

Sounds like a must-read!
And I love the opening paragraph of your review..."You cannot pretend to read a book" true :)

Milan-zzz said...

Oh this has nothing to do with your post but with the Word of the Day I just saw on your blog. It's the word sloven and it means slob, pig.

I'm speechless because Sloven in Serbian means Slav, group of few nationalities I belong to (Serbs are Southern Slavs)!
I'm in quite unpleasant shock. I wonder what's the etymology of the word in English?

(I told you I'll be regular. Now I'm not sure this is good idea! LOL)

Happy Reader said...

@Radha ~ The same lines appeared in the blurb of the book too! Aren't they lovely..
@Milan ~ Really?? LOL :) No Wonder you were in for a shock!
P.S you will see more updates after new year, as I am taking a short break now.

Carl V. Anderson said...

That sounds enchanting! And I love the quote at the start of the post, that is exactly what reading is like!

Lotus Reads said...

Hi, Chitts!

I finally got a copy of "Mister Pip". I'll probably only start it sometime in the new year, but I wanted to thank you for the recommendation!

I'm glad I'm not the only one to think that "Dowry Bride" was a disappointing read. I was so looking forward to it, but it was such a let down. :(

Happy Reader said...

@carl ~ I agree :) When I read the quotes on the blurb, I knew I had to pick it up! It was such a rewarding experience.
@lotus ~ How nice to hear back from you! I hope you enjoy reading it. Btw, Thanks for your book recommendations. I got loads of books from India :) will follow up with an email. Can't wait to tell you all about my trip :)

MissMiller said...

rEveryone's coming into the bookstore I work at looking for this - glad I now know what the fuss is about!

bibliobibuli said...

thanks for dropping by my blog. i wanted "mr. pip" to win too because it is a great book that will win reading friends.

love the quote you picked up. isn't it just so true?

Happy Reader said...

@acquisitionist ~ Glad to know more people are wanting to read this amazing book! :)
@bibliobibuli ~ Thanks so much for visiting my blog! Couldn't agree more with you on the quote :)