A woman washes ashore in Sicily. She has come from north Africa to find
her son, taken from her when he was just days old by his father and
stolen away to Berlin. With nothing but her maid's uniform and a knife
stashed in a plastic bag, she relies on strangers— some generous, some
exploiting—to guide her passage north.
These strangers tell of their encounters with a quiet, mysterious woman in a blue coat—each account a different view of the truth, a different truth. And slowly these fragments of a life piece together to create a spellbinding story of the courage of a mother and the versions of truth we create to accommodate our lives.
Haunting and beautiful, Hand Me Down World is simply unforgettable.
About The Author
Lloyd Jones is a New Zealand author who currently resides in Wellington. He is a graduate of Victoria University. In 1988 he was the recipient of the Katherine Mansfield Memorial Fellowship.
In 1994 he curated an exhibition which illustrated the New Zealand Saturday. This work was a collaboration with photographer Bruce Foster and held at the National Library in Wellington. The work was published as the 'The Last Saturday' and included historical photographs, contemporary ones by Foster and an essay by Jones. In May 2003, a theatrical adaptation of his novel 'The Book of Fame' was presented at Wellington's Downstage Theatre.
In May 2007, he won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Overall Best Book Award for his novel Mister Pip. The novel is set during the Bougainville Civil War of the early 1990s. His novel Mister Pip was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize 2007.
Hand Me Down World is the new book from Lloyd Jones, the best-selling author of Mister Pip.
This is a story about a woman. And the truck driver who mistook her for a prostitute. And the old man she robbed and the hunters who smuggled her across the border. And the woman whose name she stole and the wife who turned a blind eye. This is the story of a mother searching for her child. This is a novel you cannot stop thinking about.
Much of Jones' work concerns the theme of identity and this is certainly the case with his latest novel. We learn of Ines slowly, depending both on whose voice is narrating her story, and the lightness with which she appears and disappears from people's lives. There is a dream like quality to much of the novel, and the perceptions of Ines shift and change like a mirage from the deserts of her native Tunisia. Ines survives in Berlin on the margins of society, making do with the unreliable supply of hand me downs. But it is not only her possessions that are unreliable and second hand - it is her story itself.
Jones was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize, and won the Commonwealth Prize, with Mister Pip. Hand Me Down World certainly will delight his followers. As a newcomer to his books, I found it an engaging, original and intriguing read.
Number Of Pages: 336
Published: 25th October 2010
Dimensions (cm): 23.000 x 15.200