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October 10, 2013

Great Expectations for Bougainville

 

You cannot pretend to read a book. Your eyes will give you away. So will your breathing. A person entranced by a book simply forgets to breathe. The house can catch alight and a reader deep in a book will not look up until the wallpaper is in flames."

Which is what Mr Watts says to Matilda in "Mister Pip" and which is how I felt when I read this beautiful and fablelike book set in the war-shattered but copper-rich island of Bougainville. I learned more about the people of Bougainville in the 250 pages of this books than I did during the three years I lived and worked there.