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Goldsmiths' Official Student Magazine

Hand Me Down World

January 21, 2013
Writer_John Seamons Commonwealth Writers prize winner and Booker Prize nominee, Lloyd Jones has become one of New Zealand’s most acclaimed writers. His novel Hand Me Down World illustrates the power of a mother’s love, with a woman willing to risk everything for her child. One of the most impressive aspects of the text is its…

Writer_John Seamons

Commonwealth Writers prize winner and Booker Prize nominee, Lloyd Jones has become one of New Zealand’s most acclaimed writers. His novel Hand Me Down World illustrates the power of a mother’s love, with a woman willing to risk everything for her child. One of the most impressive aspects of the text is its narrative form. The majority is written from the perspectives of individuals who have encountered the central character. When protagonist Ines is given the chance to describe her experience it questions aspects of the other accounts. This suggests even information written in black and white can be prejudiced and not necessarily truthful. The narrators who have contact with Ines encounter her in a variety of places across the world. Several were limited to fleeting conversations or merely witnessed her movements, while others became intimately involved in her life. One thing which is evident in every account is the desire of the speaker to portray their actions positively. Everyone wants to appear as if they helped a vulnerable person out of the goodness of their hearts. On many occasions this is far from the truth. As an anonymous migrant in the metropolis, Ines represents a section of society which is often ignored. This isolation is highlighted when a range of narrators manipulate the truth. The fact that Lloyd Jones gives a voice to Ines validates her opinions and suggests the author is sympathetic to her plight. The policeman investigating her crime goes above and beyond his call of duty. Despite the huge differences in their lives, he feels a connection with the woman. The novel encourages readers to do the same, considering migrants as fellow humans each with their own individual story.