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Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones
Mister Pip is set in the 1990s during the blockade of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea. The novel is narrated by a girl named Matilda, whose father has left the island. The blockade has also forced all the white people to leave, except for one man, Mr. Watts, who stays behind to teach the children. The village is surrounded by both government and rebel troops, but each day Mr. Watts reads Charles Dickens' Great Expectations to the children. The children are enthralled by the story, especially with the character Pip. When the only copy of the book disappears, the children try to re-create the book from memory. Matilda so identifies with Pip that she writes his name in the sand on the beach. This convinces the government soldiers that Pip must be a rebel spy, and they come into the village determined to find Mister Pip. Lloyd Jones' novel has already won the 2007 Commonwealth Writer's Prize and has received a Man Booker Prize nomination. The Independent says, "Rarely, though, can any novel have combined charm, horror and uplift in quite such superabundance."