This Month We're Reading Mary Gordon's 'Pearl'

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

In his New York Times review of Pearl, John Leonard wrote: “Mary Gordon thinks out loud about mothers, daughters, atonement and forgiveness; about music, art, sainthood and terrorism; about martyrdom and Irish politics, genocide in Europe and Cambodia, suicide and human sacrifice; about scorn, butter, hunger, greed, cloisters and surveillance; Virgil and Aquinas, Eliot and Yeats, Hecuba and Isis, Anne Frank and Joan of Arc.” The story begins on Christmas night, when Maria Meyer finds out that her 20-year-old daughter, Pearl, has chained herself to a flagpole in front of the U.S. Embassy in Dublin, intending to starve herself. Maria and her oldest friend fly to Dublin to try to unravel the mystery of Pearl’s actions and to save her life.

Join us! Read the book and leave your questions for the author!


Mary Gordon

Comments [9]

tom LI

Author mentioned why did her generation lose their faith in the political system? Really? The Boomers went from rebels to the most conformist creators of conformity to ever arise in history. Every thing they rebelled against they managed to either turn into a commodity for sale -even the clothes a rebel might wear - or forced conformity thru the system of Branding everything to a Corporation.

Name a thing they rebelled against and the Boomers managed to make it for sale, or make it something not to be questioned. Government or Corporate surveillance and/or tracking certainly comes to mind. Fight the Man turned into, "Ho hum the Man is not really following you,writing files on you, don't be paranoid. Now buy this pocket sized device with all sorts of ways to track it or you won't be cool!"

Cause being cool and doing it by purchasing it is the Boomer legacy.

The Boomers sold out! And then sold out what they already sold, just repackaged and rebranded!

Oct. 01 2014 01:15 PM

Seems unfair that everyone describes the multiple points of view as "Roshomon-like" --- that's the movie by Kurosawa that combines two stories by Akutagawa. The story you mean is "In A Grove." By calling it "Roshomon" you slight the author.

Oct. 01 2014 12:57 PM
katie from Manhattan

Just left a comment objecting to her repeated use of the word "loser" - and I don't see my comment appearing. Please discuss. It seems a little judgmental and I think of it as a juvenile hurtful name-calling word. Not a way to describe a character. Very one-dimensional. Please expand on your use of this word. thank you.

Oct. 01 2014 12:50 PM
Jane K.

I wrote the discussion guide for Pearl when it first came out in hardback. Ms. Gordon liked it, and was the first and only author who has ever asked an editor to thank me personally. For a young freelance writer, that was a great thrill.

Oct. 01 2014 12:48 PM
wayne johnson Ph.D. from Bk

The problem with her character development in "Pearl" and other writing is the consistent tendency to idealize women and present us with very flawed, and violent men.Stereotypes reign in the Gordon world.

Oct. 01 2014 12:48 PM

What's with calling your character a loser? You referred to him that way multiple times. I think of that as language that teenagers and kids use to put each other down. Not a way to define a character. It rubs me the wrong was and seems overly judgmental and one-dimensional

Oct. 01 2014 12:47 PM
Dan from inwood

What's her definition of Loser? She sure uses that word a lot...

Oct. 01 2014 12:45 PM
Cell Foster from NJ

"Family of origin" in both PEARL and FINAL PAYMENTS: scholarly widower father, brilliant daughter and hateful housekeeper. Does the author have any comments about that configuration?

Sep. 29 2014 04:07 PM
Linda Nietman

I am 1/2 way through and suddenly it dawns on me. Maria and Joseph ---Mary and Joseph With a child laying down her life as a statement about the universal will to harm! Of course! An allegory, am I right?

Sep. 27 2014 04:32 PM

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