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Mother of Pearl by Melinda Haynes

Mother of Pearl

by Melinda Haynes

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1,466167,683 (3.48)21

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Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
The book started off really really slow. I almost put it down but both my mom and uncle recommended it so I powered through and glad I did . ( )
  S_Thurman | Apr 4, 2018 |
Supposedly similar to other southern writers, like Olive Ann Burns, I didn't find this book as engaging. Set in Mississippi, the story revolves around 28yo negro Even, 15yo Valuable the white daughter of the town whore, and new to town, Joody Two Sun, an odd "seer" camping outside of town. ( )
  nancynova | Jul 12, 2017 |
An introspective man, a prescient woman. Living in a true way despite the hazards of being Black in the South in the 1940's. ( )
  juniperSun | Dec 6, 2014 |
I want to read more stories like it. Loved the writing, the story, the era; it held my attention.
  kitber | Jul 18, 2012 |
This book was such a nonstarter that every member of my book club abandoned it without finishing! Yikes! Just could not get into it at all. ( )
  eslee | Jun 16, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Maar het lot is een wel meedogenloos heerser: ontkomen kunnen noch geluk noch aanval of verweer, noch ook de zwarte, zee-bestormde schepen - Sophocles
Het geheugen gelooft voordat het weten zich herinnert. Gelooft langer dan het zich voor de geest haalt, langer dan het weten zich zelfs afvraagt - William Faulkner
For my husband Ray, who told me stories and showed me Jackson
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Even Grade walked past the spot on the bridge where Canaan caught the bottle with his head and saw the blood mark was still there, but just barely.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0671774670, Paperback)

Oprah Book Club® Selection, June 1999: Twenty-eight-year-old Even Grade is a black man who was orphaned as a child; 15-year-old Valuable Korner is a white girl who might as well have been. Petal, Mississippi, circa 1956, seems an unlikely spot for these two to connect, but it soon becomes apparent in Mother of Pearl that a friendship across race lines is just one of many miracles waiting to happen in this small Southern town. Melinda Haynes's remarkable debut novel begins in a hot August, when young Val's lifelong friendship with Jackson McClain is starting to change into something more profound, and Even is falling crazy in love with Joody Two Sun, a mixed-race woman with amazing powers.

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:04 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

In a small Mississippi town during the late 1950s, Even Grade, a twenty-eight-year-old black man who grew up as an orphan, and Valuable Korner, the teenage white daughter of the local prostitute, search for love, family, and commitment.

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