Thursday, 31 March 2011

Hand Me Down World by Lloyd Jones

Ines is a black African, working in a hotel in Tunisia. She becomes pregant and bears a child by a handsome guest. Soon after the birth, he removes the baby and disappears, and she sets off for Berlin to find her child. This is the same story told twice - first by those she meets on her fraught journey as an illegal immigrant to Europe, and then by herself. What people see when they meet Ines is not necessarily the truth, and the question you must ask at every point is "would I do this for my child?" Lloyd Jones is an interesting author. Every book he writes is in a different style, and the subject matter varies widely. Other titles I've read are Autobiografi , about Enver Hoxha of Albania (what an insight into the old, Eastern Europe that was!); Mr Pip, civil war on a Pacific island, and a school teacher with only one book to use for every lesson; and Here at the end of the world we learn to dance, set in NZ and Argentina and about war, love and dance - the dance in question being the tango. You may find Lloyd Jones hard going, but if you come across him, have a go. I am always ultimately satisfied when I get to the end of one of his, even if at the beginning I think "what is this all about?"