Lloyd Jones found fame in Britain with his eighth novel, the Man Booker Prize shortlisted Mister Pip (2007), a commercially and critically successful work in which a group of children from Papua New Guinea find solace from conflict and poverty through being read the adventures of Dickens’s most famous bringer of hope, Pip, the hero of Great Expectations. The New Zealander’s follow-up novel continues the theme of journeying and adventure. In Hand Me Down World we have a Tunisian woman (she goes by the name of Ines, but that is not her real name) whose newborn baby boy is stolen by his unscrupulous father, Jermayne, an occasional visitor to Tunisia. It seems Jermayne impregnated the woman merely so he could give the baby to his girlfriend back in Berlin.
The novel concerns the woman’s journey to Europe and her quest to find her baby and become his mother once again. She arrives in Sicily after an unpleasant trip from Africa (much of it spent swimming after she was pushed out of a boat) and makes her way