Mister Johnson: A Bruce Beresford film starring Pierce Brosnan with a screenplay by William Boyd
Joyce Cary

Mister Johnson:  A Bruce Beresford film starring Pierce Brosnan with a screenplay by William Boyd

Willing, warm-hearted and thoroughly incompetent, Mr Johnson, a minor government clerk on probation at the outpost of Fada, Nigeria, entertains poetic notions of grandeur and glory as he bumbles his way free-spiritedly through the trials and tribulations of life.

He may not spell accurately, but he writes a beautiful hand. He may not file very well, but he replaces expertise with enthusiasm. Indeed, he may drive his employers wild with exasperation, but there is something about having Johnson around the place: his ingenuousness is so touching, his optimism so infectious. To the core he is an official of the British Colonial Service.

He knows he has a duty to be well-turned out in the European manner, that his wife must wear English gowns whether she likes it or not, and that they are obliged as a couple to entertain lavishly on every conceivable occasion. Every tradesman in town knows how seriously Johnson takes these duties; every tradesman in town has a ledger full of his debts. Undaunted by these numerous debts, Johnson pays a small fortune to marry the voluptuous village girl, Bamu. But while he tenderly dreams of transforming her into a civilized lady – as befitting a man of his wisdom and taste – the self-possessed beauty in question has other ideas…

Book Details:

  • Author: Joyce Cary
  • Published Year: 1995
  • Rights Sold
    • UK: Phoenix
    • Spanish: Italian Serra e Riva Editori
    • Hebrew: Sifriat Poalim Publishing House
    • Spanish: del Viento
    • UK: Faber

Joyce Cary

Joyce Cary was born in 1888 into an old Anglo-Irish family and educated at Clifton. He studied art, first in Edinburgh and then in Paris , before going up to Trinity College, Oxford, in 1909 to read law. On coming down he served as a Red Cross orderly in the Balkan War of 1912-13,the inspiration for Memoir of the Bobotes , before joining the Nigerian Political Service. He served in the Nigeria Regiment during the First World War, was wounded while fighting in the Cameroons, and returned to civil duty in Nigeria in 1917 as a district officer. His time in Africa provided the inspiration for h...
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Book Reviews

  • "A wonderfully evocative portrait of a bygone colonial life…Mr Johnson, in short is a great literary creation; he can safely take his place beside any of the characters world literature has presented us with: from Falstaff to Zeno, from Candide to Humbert Humbert."
    William Boyd
  • "A beautifully written, absorbing story which I trust will serve to bring many new readers to this magnificent novelist."
    Sunday Times