Book - 2005
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On Christmas night of 1998, Maria Meyers learns that her twenty-year-old daughter, Pearl, has chained herself outside the American embassy in Dublin, where she intends to starve herself to death. Although Maria was once a student radical and still proudly lives by her beliefs, gentle, book-loving Pearl has never been interested in politics--nor in the Catholicism her mother rejected years before. What, then, is driving her to martyr herself? Shaken by this mystery, Maria and her childhood friend (and Pearl's surrogate father), Joseph Kasperman, both rush to Pearl's side. As Mary Gordon tells the story of the bonds among them, shetakes us deep into the labyrinths of maternal love, religious faith, and Ireland's tragic history.Pearlis a grand and emotionally daring novel of ideas, told with the tension of a thriller. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, c2005
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780375423154
Branch Call Number: F Gor


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Sep 09, 2014

The story is really good. However the narration style makes the tale disjointed and the narrator seems god like, above it all, judging, telling, and basically interfering with the flow of the story. Omniscient and overbearing, frankly.

Also, for some reason Gordon has chosen to skip around to different times in the lives of the main characters, going back, forward, skipping back again and so forth. I find her style disjointed and it really does a disservice to a tremendously interesting story. I have read books that use this style well, but in this case, it made for a very fractured, and sometimes irritating read.

Cdnbookworm Mar 19, 2011

This novel had been on my to-read list for some time, and I finally got around to it. The story is told by a narrator external to the story, yet who occasionally refers to their own existence, a very different outlook.
Pearl is an American studying the Irish language in Dublin. Maria is her mother. Joseph is Maria's best friend, a man who has played the role of substitute father in Pearl's life.
The story is told from the viewpoint of all three characters, yet still externally to them. Pearl has become involved with a political group in Ireland and has been tutoring a dyslexic teen, when things go horribly wrong. Pearl decides that she must use her life to become a witness to the tragedies and, after starving herself, handcuffs herself to the flagpole at the American embassy. As Maria and Joseph travel to Dublin, and try to figure out how to help Pearl, we see the backgrounds of all three characters and what has brought them to this point in their lives. We also see their struggles to find the path forward.
I found this novel very interesting. It raised some relevant philosophical questions and looked at roles and relationships.


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