Summary and book reviews of Mother of Pearl by Melinda Haynes

Mother of Pearl

by Melinda Haynes

Mother of Pearl by Melinda Haynes X
Mother of Pearl by Melinda Haynes
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jun 1999, 448 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2000, 466 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

Set in the Deep South in the late 1950s, Mother of Pearl vividly brings to life the extraordinary inhabitants of the small town of Petal, Mississippi. Central to the novel are the stories of Even Grade, a 28-year-old black man abandoned by his mother at birth; Valuable Korner, a 15-year-old white girl whose family history holds a trunkful of damning secrets; and Joody Two Sun, an enigmatic obeah woman who sees into the hearts and minds of the townsfolk from her riverside camp on the outskirts of town. Cast in a tragicomic passion play, Even, Val, and Joody find their destinies entwined as they search for the love and family that they have always been denied.

Chapter One
Petal, Mississippi, 1956

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. The two-week bake of August sun beginning to mask its humiliation, blending the old man's emission to a color like that of rusted girder. On a day not spent dealing with death, Even would have stopped one more time to wonder over the bigger insult: that Canaan's middle-aged forehead got split by glass and bled out, or that the bottle bearing skin and blood soared over a rail and dropped into the water that he loved. Death or no, Even's suspicion was the same as two weeks back: both. Both were equally bad.

Patting for a shirtfront pocket that wasn't there, he fixed a mark on the sun and gauged the time later than normal by half an hour; summed the earth's indifferent swing as more proof of inconsequential man. On an ordinary day he would have stood still in the spot -- left foot in Hattiesburg, ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

The New York Times Book Review
A fictional [town] as entangling as kudzu....Haynes gets away with [plot] contrivances...because of the sheer vitality of her prose....In the end...Petal still has its edgy charm. Summer here may be sweltering, but there's enough going on to keep the beauty parlor abuzz.

The New York Times Book Review
A fictional [town] as entangling as kudzu....Haynes gets away with [plot] contrivances...because of the sheer vitality of her prose....In the end...Petal still has its edgy charm. Summer here may be sweltering, but there's enough going on to keep the beauty parlor abuzz.

Publishers Weekly
This wise, luminous novel demonstrates her great gifts for language, courageous storytelling and compassion.

From Library Journal
The story takes place in the segregated South, but it is timeless, and the characters are unforgettable.

From Library Journal
The story takes place in the segregated South, but it is timeless, and the characters are unforgettable.

Author Blurb Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, author of Sister of My Heart
With deft humor and deep sympathy for human suffering, Melinda Haynes has created a novel that weaves together mystery and magic and the small bright delights of everyday life.

Author Blurb Oprah Winfrey
It is an extraordinary read...Melinda Haynes is my catch of the year.

Author Blurb Pat Conroy, Author of Beach Music
Mother of Pearl is a first novel of immense and staggering power. I had never heard of Melinda Haynes in my life, but everyone in America will be hearing about her very soon. Her sentences have the beauty of coined silver forks resting on linen. Her dialogue shimmers. Something absolutely wonderful is going on here and it might be the surprise one feels encountering greatness.

Author Blurb Oprah Winfrey
It is an extraordinary read...Melinda Haynes is my catch of the year.

Reader Reviews

Pittmand R Watson

More Pearl
I can relate to the characters, which is important to me as a reader. Any reader can relate, especially if you are from the South. Please give me more!!!

Book Fanatic

Mother of pearl
I thought that this book was a very interesting read. At first I did not want to read it because it looked boring but I started it and found a treasure. The rural feel of the book was intense and it pulled my heart strings.

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by Melinda Haynes

If you liked Mother of Pearl, try these:

  • The Vanishing Half jacket

    The Vanishing Half

    by Brit Bennett

    Published 2020

    About this book

    More books by this author

    From the New York Times-bestselling author of The Mothers, a stunning new novel about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white.

  • A Good Hard Look jacket

    A Good Hard Look

    by Ann Napolitano

    Published 2012

    About this book

    More books by this author

    Heartbreakingly beautiful and inescapably human, ordinary and extraordinary people chart their own courses in life. In the aftermath of one tragic afternoon, they are all forced to look at themselves and face up to the observation that the truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes

Books with similar themes


Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Memorial Drive
    Memorial Drive
    by Natasha Trethewey
    On June 5, 1985, Natasha Trethewey's mother, Gwendolyn Turnbough, was murdered by her ex-husband, ...
  • Book Jacket: All the Devils Are Here
    All the Devils Are Here
    by Louise Penny
    In Louise Penny's All the Devils Are Here, the 16th book in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache ...
  • Book Jacket: A Girl is A Body of Water
    A Girl is A Body of Water
    by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
    First Impressions readers were fascinated by A Girl Is a Body of Water, a riveting and nuanced novel...
  • Book Jacket
    Heaven, My Home
    by Attica Locke
    Attica Locke's 2017 novel Bluebird, Bluebird introduced us to Texas Ranger Darren Mathews, who ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Piranesi
    by Susanna Clarke

    A new novel from the NY Times bestselling author of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Shadow King
by Maaza Mengiste

An unforgettable epic shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize, and named a best book of the year by the New York Times.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Memorial Drive

Memorial Drive
by Natasha Trethewey

The moving, intimate story of a poet coming into her own in the wake of tragedy.

Enter


Wordplay

Solve this clue:

L N Take I C

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.

 


© BookBrowse LLC 1997-2020. All rights reserved. Information at BookBrowse.com is published with the permission of the copyright holder or their agent.
It is forbidden to copy anything for publication elsewhere without written permission from the copyright holder.