Hand Me Down World
A woman washes up on a beach in Sicily. She has come from Tunisia to find her son, taken from her when he was just days old and stolen away to Berlin. With nothing but her maid's uniform and a homemade knife stashed in a plastic bag, she relies on strangers — some generous, some malevolent — to guide her passage north. These strangers tell of their encounters with her, building her story in fragments of memory, prejudice and sentiment into a moving work of sacrifice and love. Hand Me Down World tells an epic story about the courage of a mother, the versions of truth to which we accommodate our lives, and love's ultimate power to redeem us.
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I was with her at the first hotel on the Arabian Sea. That was for two years. Then at the hotel in Tunisia for three years. At the first hotel we slept in the same room. I knew her name, but that is all. I did not know when her birthday was. I did not know...
1. Ines steals, lies, manipulates others and even prostitutes herself for the sake of her weekly visits with her son. Does Jones condemn this behaviour or simply present it for reader judgment? If we see Ines as a devoted mother who turns her life upside down for the chance to be reunited with her child, can we then...
“Haunting. . . . A delicate exploration of how our words voyage away from our thoughts, and how we seek asylum from actual experience in the crafted realm of memory.”
“A . . . nomadic spirit informs his creative imagination. . . . Daring and emotionally involving.”
“Unselfconsciously cosmopolitan both in its story and in its register, and Jones is the kind of writer who can slip naturally from the low to the lyrical in the space of a paragraph.”
“A seamless narrative as compelling as that of any thriller. . . . [Jones is] one of the most significant novelists writing today.”
—The Sunday Times
“A beautifully constructed, genuinely affecting book with immense heart and a varied cast of expertly inhabited characters, each with his or her own distinctive voice and milieu.”
—Australian Book Review