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Lloyd Jones' Mister Pip is a modern tragedy set on a tiny copper-rich tropical island embattled by internal strife. Thirteen-year-old Matilda watches as all the foreigners flee her homeland-all but one, the white man Mr. Watts. Amidst the ruins of the town schoolhouse, Watts reads Dickens' Great Expectations to the children, thus sparking their imaginations and giving them hope in a chaotic world.