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Woven in and around these two central love stories are myriad other characters, other tales. There is 16-year-old Joleb Green, for example, whose mother was incapacitated by a stroke when he was born, and who was raised by the black housekeeper, Grace. There is Even's friend Canaan, an older black man who spends his time reading Greek tragedy and writing his work "The Reality of the Negro"; Valuable's mother, Enid, the town whore; and Neva and Bea, a lesbian couple who have helped to raise the girl. Until this year, blacks and whites have occupied separate universes, for the most part; then Joleb Green suffers a terrible accident, and it is Joody Two Sun who saves his life and Grace who restores his soul. At the same time, a pregnant Val arrives on Joody and Even's doorstep, hungry for the understanding and acceptance she cannot find at home. Though at first Even is resistant, Val's humanity soon transcends her color in his mind:
Even chuckled and shook his head, happy for a reason he couldn't distinguish other than at that moment of Canaan's near-perfect cast, all seemed right with the world, as right as a thing can be what with a white girl camped out in the middle of the Quarter with no plans of leaving.Gradually, without really intending it, Joleb, Val, Even, Joody, Grace, and Canaan form something that looks suspiciously like a family--a relationship that will soon be tested to the limit when Val's baby is born.
Melinda Haynes has taken on a Herculean task, crafting a multicharacter story that reaches across racial barriers to encompass an entire community. She doesn't shy away from the ugliness in life--bigotry of every stripe, mean-spiritedness, betrayal, thoughtless cruelty, and death--but what interests her is the potential of the human heart to find space within itself for the most unexpected people. With its strong, lyrical language and fully realized characters, Mother of Pearl is a fine novel and a terrific introduction to a new literary voice. --Alix Wilber --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Do not try to listen to the audio version! The narration was done by a very pleasant-sounding woman, but the author is so superfluous in her language, it's almost impossible to... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Sarina P
Just finished this at 2am. I have to say, this is my kind of book. Complex characters and twisty situations. Lots of dialog, which can make it a little more difficult at times. Read morePublished 3 months ago by KFDP
When I first picked up this book, I thought "Not another book on the South!" Then I opened it to the first chapter and was completely drawn in by Melinda Haynes' use of... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Victoria Blaze
The book is definitely difficult to follow at first. But, like many other readers, I kept reading and came to love it. It's one of the best books I've ever read. Read morePublished 20 months ago by BookerMom
I thought that this book was amazing. It has everything that I am looking for in a novel: a plot that doesn't go the way I would expect; interesting characters who are fully formed... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Elizabeth
This book arrived within two days and it is in great shape. Exactly what I was looking for when I purchased this book.Published 23 months ago by Amber LaSource
Oprah really knows her books. This book was a wonderful read. I haven't been disappointed with any of Oprah's choices yet.Published 24 months ago by Joe Langston