by Lloyd Jones
The story of Miranda, a girl who lives in a remote village on the short of Bouganville, an island in the South Pacific, and her discovery of the world. A guerilla war has closed the mine, government controls blockade the island, and isolation from the distant, modern world is nearly complete. The last White person, Mr. Watts, takes over a schoolhouse abandoned by fleeing German missionaries. He reads them Great Expectations, which the entire village adores, and which inspires spirited debate over the proper role of profane stories in community life. This is the story of the English Class that went exactly as well as could be expected, and if the teacher suffers a bit in the process, that perhaps is the nature of the post. Post-colonially ambitious literature, ambitious metafiction, and a Booker shortlist nomination ensue.