Pobby and Dingan live in Lightning Ridge, New South Wales, the opal capital of Australia. They are friends with Kellyanne Williamson, the daughter of a miner: indeed only she can see them. Pobby and Dingan are imaginary. Ashmol Williamson, Kellyanne's brother thinks his sister should grow up and stop being such a fruit loop - until the day when Pobby and Dingan disappear. As Kellyanne, grief-stricken, begins to fade away, Ashmol recruits the whole town in the search for Pobby and Dingan. In the end, however, he discovers that only he can find them, and he can only find them if he too begins to believe they are real.
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(198mm x 130mm x 10mm)
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
Rice's debut novel is a real gem. Set in an opal mining community in New South Wales, Lightening Ridge has a wild west style instabliilty about it; the small population is comprised of outlaws and crazy dreamers mining in the face of danger and foul play, desperate to strike it lucky. This intriguing town is also home to Pobby and Dingan. One day Kellyanne Williamson tells her big brother Ashmol, Pobby and Dingan are maybe-dead. Pobby and Dingan are Kellyanne's imaginary friends, and as Ashmol points out in fustration, how can they be dead if they never existed? With Kellyanne bedridden with grief and sickness, Ashmol is forced to take the disappearance of Pobby and Dingan seriously. Ashmol senses that saving her is down to him, but how can he find Pobby and Dingan when they don't exist? Perhaps the only way to find them is to believe they do. This short novel is beautifully written, full of humour, wisdom and honesty. It asks questions about the natures of subjective and objective reality, and of existence itself. The characters are strong and well drawn, making for some sparky dialogue. The question of Pobby and Dingan's different levels of existence is like a multi-faceted opal that the reader explores, plays with and delights in. As quoted at the beginning of the book. 'The secret of an opal's colour lies not in its substance but in its absences.' Pobby and Dingan are everywhere and nowhere. In this intriguing novel, maybe-meeting Pobby and Dingan is a richly rewarding experience. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Ben Rice
Ben Rice was born in Devon in 1972. He read English at Newcastle University and Wadham College, Oxford. Pobby and Dingan was awarded the Somerset Maugham Award in 2001 as well as being shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize. He lives in London.