Pearl Author:Mary Gordon "On Christmas night, 1998, Maria Meyers - a New York single mother with a radical past - receives a call from the State Department: her daughter, Pearl, who is studying abroad at Trinity College, Dublin, has chained herself to the flagpole outside the American embassy and has not eaten in six weeks. Pearl has written a statement saying that her ... more »hunger strike is an act of witness, marking the death of a young man in the aftermath of the contested Irish peace agreement - a death for which she feels personally responsible - and calling attention to the human will to harm. Maria, who has always congratulated herself on Pearl's impeccable liberal upbringing, must reexamine all her assumptions about Pearl as she boards a plane for Ireland, determined to prevent her daughter's death. At the same time, Joseph Kasperman, Maria's friend since childhood and Pearl's surrogate father, flies to Dublin from Rome to help." In Pearl, Mary Gordon engages us in the lives of Maria, Joseph, and Pearl, flashing back to their complex histories: the conflicted experience with church and politics that shaped Maria in the 1960s; questions of responsibility and the nature of beauty that have shaped Joseph's understanding; the anguish of Pearl, the serious girl whose early inklings of the will to harm seem borne out in a world grown increasingly perilous.« less
Interesting concept: Girl goes on hunger strike in Ireland to support the peace processes and her unsuspecting mother and father-like figure physically travel to save her while also traveling back in time in their minds to understand how this happened. My problem with the book was the narrator: an offscreen voice which pulled me out of the story and distracted me.
Mary Gordon writes of a coming of age and the problems of maturing with a mother daughter relationship. It takes place in Ireland and you can practically smell the streets. Pearl gets involved in an issue that seems to not concern her at first glance.