Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Mr Watts Pigs Out

This Jones boy has had more than a few books published in New Zealand on a disconcerting variety of themes but according to the flyleaf this seems to be the first to crack the UK publishing circuit. And - ka mate! ka mate! ka ora! ka ora! - straight to the Booker Long List!

Quite an enjoyable read – exotic location: Bougainville at the time of the troubles – and a familiar theme: how a good read can help you through tricky times. The character of Mr Watts (who is also Mr Dickens AND the eponymous Pip) is rather evanescent, perhaps on purpose, perhaps due to some untidy drift in the narrative flow. But clever young Matilda who tells the story, and her Godbothering momma, come through loud and clear.

Published, interestingly enough, with three vastly different cover designs in different markets - the one shown to the left is much the best. So the main quarrel is with the choice of Charles Dickens Great Expectations as the redemptive novel: such a dreary load of old rope – no, no, anything but that - bring out the machetes! Chop chop!

Booker 2007 Long List
Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones


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