I adored this book. Devoured it. Jones understands character like few other writers. MISTER PIP is narrated by Matilda, a young girl living on a copper-rich tropical island, torn apart by war. All the whites have fled, save for Mr. Watts, an odd old duck in a filthy linen suit who sometimes sports a red clown's nose. He is married to a mad local woman whom his pulls about in a wagon. With the sound of artillery in the distance, Mr. Watts cleans out the ruined schoolhouse and begins reading Dickens' classic GREAT EXPECTATIONS to his students (Matilda among them). Drunken militias lurk in the forests, wielding machetes, fire and horror, and yet Mr. Watts continues reading, continues building a wall of words against the impending terrors. A war story, a coming of age story, a love story -- this is, above all, a novel ABOUT books, and the power of books to expand understanding, develop morality and transform lives. It is also a brilliant (and I don't use that word lightly) character piece about a man whose "survival weapon was story." MISTER PIP was shortlisted for the Man Book Prize, and won the commonwealth Writer's Prize. It deserves all the accolades its received. Highly recommended.