Saturday, 19 March 2011

Pearl

Finished March 19
Pearl by Mary Gordon
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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