Sunday, 21 November 2010

Book of the Week - Hand Me Down World, Lloyd Jones

I have been travelling extensively over the last few weeks, which has provided a good opportunity to read but less opportunity to think about new books. However, I hope to be around more over the next few months, so more regular posting can resume. A novel which has caught my eye due to a number of very positive reviews is Hand Me Down World by New Zealand author Lloyd Jones, who had considerable success with his last book Mr Pip, which won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2007. Subsequently, Jones spent a year on a writers' residency in Berlin, where he was inspired by a report he read about the hazardous sea crossings of illegal migrants. The African protagonist of this novel, who never reveals her true identity or country of origin but borrows the name "Ines", begins the novel as a hotel worker in Tunisia. The book follows her search for a lost child as she journeys through Europe as an illegal immigrant. Almost all reviewers have commented that this is a memorable and affecting book, and it will definitely be added to my reading list. Signed copies don’t seem to have hit the UK as yet, but are worth looking out for.

“This is a story about a woman. And the truck driver who mistook her for a prostitute. The old man she robbed and the hunters who smuggled her across the border. The woman whose name she stole, 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.”

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