Mr. Pip, by Lloyd Jones 37

That article the other day used a term I’d never heard before.  “Lit-lit.”

“…lit-lit novels name-drop dead authors obsessively and are built around an epiphany in which one or another character recognizes the transformative power of literature”

Mr. Pip, by Lloyd Jones, is one of those.  And I am a sucker for this genre.

Tropical island in the South Pacific, middle of a civil war, point of view of a thirteen year old girl.

All of the teachers left the island before it was blockaded, so school was shut down until Mr. Watts offered to start classes.  Mr. Watts was the only white man in the village, and he wasn’t teaching in the traditional sense.  He would invite the parents to speak to the children of anything they might know that might be useful.  And he read to them from Great Expectations.

There are several themes swirling around here, and they are all really effective.  The power of transforming oneself, the power of imagination, the power of faith and the different definitions of faith.  Finding solace in a criminally insane world.

If I had thought about it for five minutes, the climax of this book might not have come as such a shock.  But I was so engrossed that it snuck up on me.  And that is when you know you have a good one. 

Lloyd Jones is a novelist from New Zealand and I imagine the only reason this book crossed my path is that it was shortlisted for the Booker Prize.  But I will be keeping a lookout for his name.

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