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 $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • 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.

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

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

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 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.

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 $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Read-alikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by Melinda Haynes

If you liked Mother of Pearl, try these:

  • The Book Woman's Daughter jacket

    The Book Woman's Daughter

    by Kim Michele Richardson

    Published 2022

    About this book

    More by this author

    Honey Lovett, the daughter of the beloved Troublesome book woman, who must fight for her own independence with the help of the women who guide her and the books that set her free.

  • The Vanishing Half jacket

    The Vanishing Half

    by Brit Bennett

    Published 2022

    About this book

    More 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.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search read-alikes again
How we choose readalikes
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 $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

and discover exceptional books
for just $3.75 per month.

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Bitch
    Bitch
    by Lucy Cooke
    In middle school biology class, many of us were told that men hunt and women nest, that testosterone...
  • Book Jacket: Jackie & Me
    Jackie & Me
    by Louis Bayard
    Louis Bayard's Jackie & Me offers a fictionalized version of the early relationship between John F. ...
  • Book Jacket: The Facemaker
    The Facemaker
    by Lindsey Fitzharris
    The summer of 1914 saw the beginning of World War I, the bloody conflict known as the 'war to end ...
  • Book Jacket: How to Read Now
    How to Read Now
    by Elaine Castillo
    Toni Morrison once wrote, 'My project rises from delight, not disappointment.' This remark appeared ...

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Widowland
    by C. J. Carey

    A thrilling feminist dystopian novel set in an alternate 1950s Britain under the control of the Third Reich.

  • Book Jacket

    Dirt Creek
    by Hayley Scrivenor

    "A heart-wrenching mystery, Scrivenor's remarkable sense of place brings Dirt Creek to life. A stellar debut."
    —Jane Harper,

Who Said...

No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

I Wishes W H B W R

and be entered to win..

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.