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If you’re a fan of audiobooks and searching for an enthralling listen, look no further than Lloyd Jones’ “Mister Pip.” This critically acclaimed novel has been praised for its imaginative storytelling and compelling characters, making it a standout choice for audiobook enthusiasts. In this audiobook review, we’ll delve into the world of “Mister Pip,” exploring its themes, characters, and plot points, as well as discussing the audiobook narration that brings it to life. So settle in, grab your headphones, and let’s explore why “Mister Pip” by Lloyd Jones is a must-listen audiobook for any book lover.

About the Author

Lloyd Jones is an award-winning writer hailing from New Zealand. Born on March 23, 1955, in Lower Hutt, Jones has penned several critically acclaimed works of fiction, including “Mister Pip,” which won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2007.

The author’s early years were spent in Papua New Guinea, where his father worked as a government agriculturalist. This experience would later inspire his debut novel, “The Book of Fame,” which was based on the true story of the first rugby team from New Zealand to tour the country.

Jones has since written several other novels, including “Hand Me Down World,” “Biografi,” and “The Cage,” as well as numerous short stories and essays. He has won several awards for his work, including the Montana-New Zealand Book Award and the Tasmania Pacific Fiction Prize.

His writing is characterized by a lyricism that captures the essence of the human experience while exploring themes of identity, memory, and cultural heritage.

Overall, Lloyd Jones is a respected author whose contributions to literature have garnered worldwide recognition.


Set on the war-torn island of Bougainville, “Mister Pip” tells the story of young Matilda, who finds solace and inspiration in the novel Great Expectations, introduced to her by her unconventional teacher, Mr. Watts. Amidst the chaos and violence of their surroundings, Matilda and her fellow villagers become transfixed by the tale of Pip’s journey of self-discovery, as they struggle to persevere and survive through their own experiences of loss and hardship. Through the novel’s exploration of imagination and storytelling, “Mister Pip” sheds light on the transformative power of literature in times of adversity.

Setting and Characters

Lloyd Jones’ “Mister Pip” is set on the Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville during a civil war that isolates the island from the rest of the world. Against this backdrop, the story centers around the character of Mr. Watts, the only white person left on the island, who becomes a teacher and offers refuge for the children of the island. The book’s setting expertly captures the isolation and danger of the conflict, creating a sense of tension and urgency throughout the novel.

The novel’s characters are equally captivating, with the young protagonist Matilda and her relationship with Mr. Watts at the forefront. Matilda is a relatable character, brave and curious, who navigates the complexities of the island’s conflict with the help of her imagination and the stories told by Mr. Watts. The other characters, such as Dolores, Matilda’s strict mother, and the infamous “redskins” who roam the island, add depth and complexity to the story, highlighting the effects of war and fear on individual lives.

Together, the setting and characters of “Mister Pip” create a vivid and compelling portrayal of life during wartime, drawing readers in with their emotional resonance and realistic depictions.

Plot Analysis

Throughout “Mister Pip,” author Lloyd Jones weaves a captivating narrative that explores the power of literature and imagination in the face of adversity. The story follows the character of Matilda, a young girl living on the war-torn island of Bougainville, who is transported to another world through the power of the novel Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.

As Matilda’s rapt attention to Mr. Watts’ daily readings of Great Expectations grows, so too does the danger and violence surrounding her. When the island’s military confronts Mr. Watts over rumors that he is teaching subversive European values, Matilda’s world is thrown into chaos.

The plot of “Mister Pip” is full of unexpected twists and turns, as Matilda struggles to navigate her changing world without losing her grasp on the story that has come to mean so much to her. Through the novel’s intricate plot, Jones masterfully depicts the impact of literature on the human spirit, and the ability of stories to help us survive even the darkest of times.

Key Events

“Mister Pip” follows the captivating story of Matilda, a young girl who finds solace in the novel Great Expectations during war-torn times. Here are some key events that drive the plot forward:

Event Description
Mr. Watts arrives on Bougainville Matilda’s life is changed forever when the enigmatic Mr. Watts arrives on her island and begins reading novels to the children of the village.
Matilda becomes obsessed with Great Expectations As Mr. Watts continues to read Great Expectations, Matilda becomes increasingly enchanted with the story and its characters.
The island descends into chaos As the island becomes engulfed in violence and unrest, Mr. Watts’ teachings come under suspicion and he is accused of being a threat to the community.
Matilda loses touch with reality Unable to distinguish between the events of Great Expectations and her own life, Matilda struggles to make sense of the world around her.
The island confronts Mr. Watts Tensions come to a head when the island’s military confronts Mr. Watts and his wife over suspicions that they are teaching subversive European values to the children.

Narrative Structure

At its core, the narrative structure of “Mister Pip” is one of juxtaposition and duality. On the one hand, the novel is a gripping coming-of-age story, focused on the young protagonist Matilda and her struggle to make sense of a world gone mad. On the other hand, “Mister Pip” is a deeply introspective examination of the power of literature, and the ways in which stories can help us navigate even the most difficult of situations.

Throughout the novel, Jones employs a variety of literary techniques to create a sense of tension and suspense, all while exploring deep philosophical questions about the role of storytelling in the human experience.

Themes and Symbols

Lloyd Jones’ “Mister Pip” is a novel that explores themes of imagination, storytelling, survival, and the power of literature. One of the most prominent symbols in the book is Mr. Watts’ reading of “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens to the children of the island, highlighting the transformative power of storytelling and its ability to transport individuals from their current circumstances.

Another symbol in the novel is the redskins, representing the conflict between the native Bougainvilleans and the colonizers. The soldiers who arrive on the island are known as “redskins,” spawning fear and division among the island community.

The character of Dolores represents the narrow-mindedness and ignorance that can arise from a lack of exposure to the wider world. Her resistance to Mr. Watts’ reading and her religion, ultimately leading to her downfall, signifies the dangers of refusing to expand one’s horizons.

The use of these themes and symbols throughout the novel adds depth and nuance to the storytelling, making “Mister Pip” a poignant and thought-provoking work.

Writing Style and Language

Writing style and language

Lloyd Jones’ writing style and language choices in “Mister Pip” demonstrate his mastery of the craft of storytelling. Throughout the novel, Jones employs a lyrical style that engages the reader’s imagination and transports them to the vivid world of the story. He pays meticulous attention to word choice, utilizing dynamic verbs and sensory details to bring scenes and characters to life.

One of the most striking aspects of Jones’ writing in “Mister Pip” is his ability to create a distinct voice for each character. From the protagonist, Matilda, to the titular character, Mr. Watts, each character has a unique way of speaking and expressing themselves, adding depth and richness to the narrative.

The novel also employs a rich variety of linguistic devices, including metaphors, similes, and symbolism, contributing to its deeper thematic resonance. Jones’ use of these literary techniques is masterful, enhancing the emotional impact of the story.

Overall, the writing style and language of “Mister Pip” contribute significantly to its powerful impact on readers. Jones’ ability to craft an immersive and emotionally resonant story is a testament to his skill as a writer.

Audiobook Narration

One of the main reasons to listen to “Mister Pip” as an audiobook is the exceptional narration by Susan Lyons. Her voice perfectly captures the nuances and emotions of the characters, bringing them to life in a way that enhances the listening experience.

Lyons’ reading is steady and clear, with excellent pacing that keeps the story engaging throughout. Her skillful delivery of the dialogue adds depth to the character relationships, and her use of accents and inflection further immerses listeners in the novel’s setting.

This audiobook is an excellent choice for those who want to experience the vivid world of “Mister Pip” in a new way. With Susan Lyons at the helm, the audiobook narration is sure to enhance your appreciation of Lloyd Jones’ masterpiece.

Critical Reception

Lloyd Jones’ “Mister Pip” has garnered a range of critical reactions since its release. The novel was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2007 and won numerous awards, including the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and Montana Medal for Fiction.

Positive Reviews Negative Reviews
“A stunning achievement.” – The New York Times Book Review “A weak, implausible plot and weak characters detract from the otherwise beautiful writing.” – The Guardian
“A masterpiece of storytelling.” – The Independent “The novel’s fanciful and sentimental tone detracts from its otherwise powerful message.” – Publisher’s Weekly
“The characters are vibrant, and the setting is captivating.” – The Washington Post “The novel relies too heavily on stereotypes and cliches.” – Kirkus Reviews

While “Mister Pip” has received some negative reviews, the majority of critics have praised the novel’s imaginative and evocative storytelling, vivid characters, and powerful themes of survival, imagination, and the enduring power of storytelling.

Comparison to Other Works by the Author

Lloyd Jones comparison with other works

Despite Lloyd Jones’ impressive literary achievements, “Mister Pip” stands out as a unique masterpiece that captures readers’ hearts with its powerful storytelling. The novel’s themes of imagination and survival, combined with its vivid characters and setting, make it a tour de force of modern literature. While there are several other notable works by the author, “Mister Pip” holds a special place in the hearts of many readers.

One of Lloyd Jones’ other notable works, “The Book of Fame,” showcases his distinct writing style and adventurous themes. However, it lacks the emotional depth and immersive experience offered by “Mister Pip.” Another notable work, “Hand Me Down World,” explores complex themes of identity and belonging but lacks the compelling characters and setting of “Mister Pip.”

Mister Pip The Book of Fame Hand Me Down World
Themes Imagination, survival Adventure Identity, belonging
Setting Small village in Papua New Guinea New Zealand rugby team on tour in the UK Various settings around the world
Main Characters Matilda, Mr. Watts Original All Blacks rugby team Ingrid, Cedric

Overall, while each of Lloyd Jones’ works offers its own unique insights and merits, “Mister Pip” remains the author’s most captivating and emotionally resonant work to date.

Impact and Legacy

The impact of Lloyd Jones’ “Mister Pip” has extended far beyond the pages of the novel. Its vivid storytelling, poignant themes, and unique blend of fact and fiction have left an indelible mark on the literary world and popular culture.

The novel’s impact is reflected in the numerous international awards it has received, including the prestigious Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. Its popularity has also spawned a critically acclaimed stage adaptation and a film adaptation.

“Mister Pip” has had a lasting legacy on subsequent works of literature, with many authors citing it as a source of inspiration. Its emphasis on the power of storytelling, the importance of imagination, and the enduring nature of hope have resonated with readers and writers alike.

The novel’s cultural significance is also evident in its portrayal of the Bougainville conflict, which has brought attention to the history of Papua New Guinea and the impact of colonialism. It has served as a platform for discussions about cultural identity, the politics of representation, and the complexities of postcolonial relations.

The impact and legacy of “Mister Pip” serve as a testament to the power of storytelling and its ability to inspire, educate, and entertain readers for generations to come. Its messages of resilience and hope continue to resonate with readers worldwide.


If you enjoy thought-provoking novels that explore themes of imagination, survival, and the power of storytelling, we highly recommend listening to “Mister Pip” by Lloyd Jones. This audiobook offers a captivating listening experience that will keep you engaged from beginning to end.

The narrator’s skilled performance brings the vivid setting and compelling characters to life, making you feel as though you are right there with them on the island of Bougainville. Whether you’re a fan of literary fiction or simply looking for a great audiobook to listen to, “Mister Pip” is definitely worth checking out.


Overall, “Mister Pip” by Lloyd Jones is a captivating novel that explores themes of imagination, survival, and the power of storytelling. Through vivid settings, compelling characters, and expertly crafted prose, Jones weaves a narrative that engages and inspires.

The audiobook narration of “Mister Pip” is also noteworthy, with the narrator’s performance adding an extra layer of emotion and depth to the story.

While the novel has received mixed critical reception, we highly recommend “Mister Pip” as an audiobook for those looking to engage with a thought-provoking and emotionally resonant story.

Overall, “Mister Pip” is a testament to the enduring power of literature to capture the human experience and challenge our perspectives.

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