Thursday, December 2, 2010

Review : Hand Me Down World

Hand Me Down World, Lloyd Jones (Text Publishing)

Lloyd Jones, author of the wonderful and highly acclaimed novel Mr Pip, has produced another gem. An African woman washes up on the shores of Sicily, after fleeing Tunisia to search for her kidnapped son, her destination is Berlin and we travel the journey with her as the world literally hands her down. Ines, is almost unknowable for the first half of the book, we see her journey through the eyes of those she encounters along the way. Her story is a chimera, a jigsaw of different perspectives gathered by the investigator on her tail and the truth is never clear, even her real name is unknown. The only thing that is always apparent is the powerful love for her son, and the determination to be with him that drives her forward against tremendous odds. When the investigator catches up to her, we finally hear her story told in her own voice pulling apart all that has come before it. The unique structure, the masterful writing, and the heartbreaking picture that it illustrates of the life of a refugee all make this a brilliant and timely novel.


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