Pearl: A novel (Hardcover)

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Heartbreaking and redeeming, Pearl is the story of a young woman in a small English village who is struggling with the disappearance of her mother, what feels like a lifetime ago.

Marianne is eight years old when her mother goes missing.

Left behind with her baby brother and grieving father in a ramshackle house on the edge of a small village, she clings to the fragmented memories of her mother’s love; the smell of fresh herbs, the games they played, and the songs and stories of her childhood.

As time passes, Marianne finds it difficult to adjust, fixated on her mother’s disappearance and the secrets she’s sure her father is keeping from her. Yet, in one of her mother’s dusty old books, she discovers a medieval poem called Pearl, and, trusting in the promise of its consolation, it seems as if her life begins to parallel the poem's course.

But questions remain. Marianne is ever more tormented by the unmarked gravestone in the abandoned chapel and the tidal pull of the river, and as her childhood home begins to crumble, the past leads her down a path of self-destruction. Can Marianne ever come to understand her mother’s choices? And will her own future as a mother help her find her peace?

About the Author

SIÂN HUGHES grew up in a small village in Cheshire, where the story of Pearl is set. Returning to live there after her mother’s death, she borrowed from the medieval poem Pearl to write a story set in an old house she cycled past every day as a child. Her first collection of poetry, The Missing (Salt, 2009), was long-listed for the Guardian First Book Award, short-listed for the Felix Dennis and Aldeburgh prizes, and won the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize for Poetry. Pearl is her first novel, and she lives in Malpas, UK.

Praise For…

"Pearl is a gorgeous, swirling, haunted and haunting potion of a book. It embodies like no other the truth that every absence is as singular and elaborate and mysterious as the presence of the thing—or person—it describes, no matter how back to front, inside out, lucidly or ethereally memories of its particulars may come and go. How utterly moving, to be under its beautiful, artful spell." —Paul Harding, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Tinkers and This Other Eden

an exceptional debut novel, is both a mystery story and a meditation on grief, abandonment and consolation, evoking the profundities of the haunting medieval poem... It’s a book that will be passed from hand to hand for a long time to come.” — The Booker Prize 2023 judges
“Compulsive and wonderfully written, Pearl is a small gem.” The Times Literary Supplement

Product Details
ISBN: 9780593802564
ISBN-10: 059380256X
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: August 6th, 2024
Pages: 224
Language: English