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Lloyd Jones

Film-wise, 2013 has been the year of adapting dangerously. Dangerously, that is, in the sense of daring to affront devoted readers of the original novels or plays, valuing enterprise over fidelity. Now, just after admirable versions of Much Ado about Nothing and What Maisie Knew have finished their runs, we have director–screenwriter Andrew Ada ...

When Mark Twain arrived in Watsons Bay in 1895, he called out from his ship that he was going to write a book about Australia. ‘I think I ought to start now. You know so much more of a country when you haven’t seen it than when you have. Besides, you don’t get your mind strengthened by contact with ...

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Lloyd Jones’s Booker-shortlisted ‘breakthrough’ novel Mister Pip (2006) began life as a collection of random memories and myths written on a wall...

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‘As far as books are concerned, I find life no help at all. Books grow out of other books.’ So said the great Ivy Compton-Burnett, and her comment is at least partly pertinent in relation to Lloyd Jones’s luminous Mister Pip, trailing as it does clouds of Dickensian glory. Increasingly, there seems to be a sub-genre of novels that have their roots in other novels. Some of these are vile, like Emma Tennant’s vulgarly opportunist Pemberley Revisited: or Pride and Prejudice Continued (2005) and Emma in Love (1996), which traduce two great novels. Others work more evocatively, like Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea (1966), a post-colonial reimagining of Jane Eyre from the point of view of the madwoman in the attic, or Peter Carey’s Jack Maggs (1997), which, with elliptic brilliance, re-situates Magwitch at the heart of the narrative of Great Expectations (1860–61).

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