Hand Me Down World
By Lloyd Jones
(Bloomsbury USA, Hardcover, 9781608196999, 320pp.)
Publication Date: September 27, 2011
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This is the story of a young African mother's journey to reclaim the infant son heartlessly stolen from her. Beginning in Tunisia, where she is employed as a hotel maid, the novel follows her as she makes an illegal, near-death crossing of the Mediterranean, then up the length of Italy, across the Alps, and on to Berlin, where her child has been given a new home. We learn the mother's story through the people she meets along the way, human links in the perilous chain of her journey: a taxi driver, a hunter, a snail collector, a street performer, a blind man. Most are generous, some malevolent, but all write their own deeply personal needs on the nearly blank slate of a mother whose needs are greatest of all. Finally, the woman herself picks up the narration, retelling her story in her own words. And only then do we understand the extent of the sacrifices she has been willing to make for the love of her child.
After eight novels, and following on the heels of his award-winning, bestselling Mister Pip, Hand Me Down World confirms Lloyd Jones's stature as one of the most provocative and important writers today. Dazzling in its literary effects, powerful in its emotions, this is a masterwork of contemporary fiction.
Praise for Hand Me Down World:
An extraordinary novel … [Jones] is becoming one of the most interesting, honest and thought-provoking novelists working today." -Guardian (UK)
"Compelling…vivid … intense…One of the most significant novelists writing today." -Sunday Times (UK)
Lloyd Jones was born in New Zealand in 1955. His many books include Biografi (a New York Times Notable Book), Here at the End of the World We Learn to Dance, and Mister Pip, which was awarded the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.
"Hand Me Down World slowly reveals itself, like a jigsaw puzzle. This is the story of a mother's determined courage, yet Jones avoids sentimentality. It is also about those who have power and those who do not -- and this mother, with all her dignity and savviness, is an unlikely candidate for redemption. Still, she possesses a fierce kind of hope that no one can take from her." –Newsday"What's most original about this novel is the structure….An absorbing work recommended for fans of Peter Carey, whose novels have a similar dreamy, shifting quality." – Library Journal
"Disturbing but beautifully written...For his dedication to moral complexity and his wholly unsentimental portrayal of an outsized tragedy... Jones deserves praise." - Publishers Weekly