Bougainville. 1991. A small village on a lush tropical island in the South Pacific. 86 days have passed since Matilda’s last day of school as, quietly, war is encroaching from the other end of the island.
When the villagers’ safe, predictable lives come to a halt, Bougainville’s children are surprised to find the island’s only white man, a recluse, re-opening the school. Pop Eye, aka Mr Watts, explains he will introduce the children to 'Mr Dickens'. Matilda and the others think a foreigner is coming to the island and prepare a list of much needed items.
They are shocked to discover their acquaintance with Mr Dickens will be through Mr Watts’ reading of Great Expectations. But on an island at war, the power of fiction has dangerous consequences.