Book - 2004
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Maria Meyers, a New York single mother with a radical past, travels to Dublin to save her daughter when she discovers that Pearl is on a hunger strike, to mark the responsibility she feels for the death of a young man whom she sees as a victim of the Trouble of Ireland. Maria and Joseph, Pearl's surrogate father, re-examine their pasts, their political beliefs, and questions of responsibility and injustice.
Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, 2004
ISBN: 9780375423154
Characteristics: 354 p


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Sep 09, 2014

The story is really good. However the narration style makes the tale disjointed and the narrator seems god like, above it all, judging, telling, and basically interfering with the flow of the story. Omniscient and overbearing, frankly.

Also, for some reason Gordon has chosen to skip around to different times in the lives of the main characters, going back, forward, skipping back again and so forth. I find her style disjointed and it really does a disservice to a tremendously interesting story. I have read books that use this style well, but in this case, it made for a very fractured, and sometimes irritating read.

Cdnbookworm Mar 19, 2011

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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