Pearl by Mary Gordon
A Novel

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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, she takes us deep into the labyrinths of maternal love, religious faith, and Ireland’s tragic history. Pearl is a grand and emotionally daring novel of ideas, told with the tension of a thriller.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About Mary Gordon

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Mary Gordon is an internationally recognized educator, author, child advocate, and parenting expert who has created award-winning programs focused on the power of empathy. In 1996, she founded Roots of Empathy, which now offers programs in Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and elsewhere. Gordon speaks and consults to governments, educational organizations, and public institutions. She is a Member of the Order of Canada and an Ashoka Fellow. Her Web site is
Published January 18, 2005 by Anchor. 368 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Action & Adventure. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Pearl

The New York Times

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In Mary Gordon's new novel, a young woman's hunger strike brings her unconventional family to Ireland.

Feb 20 2005 | Read Full Review of Pearl: A Novel

Book Reporter

Pearl is very compelling and Gordon writes her story.

Jan 14 2011 | Read Full Review of Pearl: A Novel

USA Today

On Christmas Eve, Maria Myers picks up her cell phone to hear that her daughter Pearl, a college student studying abroad in Ireland, has tied herself to the flagpole at the U.S. Embassy in Dublin.

| Read Full Review of Pearl: A Novel

Bookmarks Magazine

Jim Higgins San Francisco Chronicle 2.5 of 5 Stars "Unfortunately, Pearl often reads more like a thoughtful essay brimming with ideas than a fully fledged novel with characters that we care deeply about, which is a shame … rhetoric can get in the way of telling a good story."

Jan 11 2008 | Read Full Review of Pearl: A Novel

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