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Master Pip


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Master Pip by Lloyd Jones is out in hardcover at 20 euros.

English bookies unexpectedly put this novel as favourite to win the Booker Prize.

It is the year 1991 in Bougainville, a small village on a lush tropical island in the South Pacific. Eighty-six days have passed since Matilda’s last day of school and the island is threatened by a war quietly encroaching from the other end of the island between local rebels and government troops.

The small group of Bougainville’s children are surprised to find the island’s only white man and a recluse, Mr. Watts (or Pop Eye as they nickname him), re-opening the school and, as the new term unfolds, they find their lives intertwined with those of a boy called Pip and a man named Charles Dickens as they read Great Expectations for class. Pop Eye uses Pip’s experiences in Victorian England to try and show the children that there is more to life than the horrors of the current war.

In this rewarding, skilfully-crafted slim novel, Lloyd Jones uses the narrator, Matilda, to inject colourful imagery and dry humour.