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Pearl

by Siân Hughes

Price: £11.99

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Quick take

Eight-year-old Marianne copes with her mother's disappearance, clinging to memories and struggling with her father's secrets. Inspired by a medieval poem, she seeks solace through art, grappling with the past and her own future as a mother.

Synopsis

Marianne is eight years old when her mother goes missing. Left behind with her baby brother and grieving father in a ramshackle house on the edge of a small village, she clings to the fragmented memories of her mother’s love; the smell...

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Marianne is eight years old when her mother goes missing. Left behind with her baby brother and grieving father in a ramshackle house on the edge of a small village, she clings to the fragmented memories of her mother’s love; the smell of fresh herbs, the games they played, and the songs and stories of her childhood. As time passes, Marianne struggles to adjust, fixated on her mother’s disappearance and the secrets she’s sure her father is keeping from her. Discovering a medieval poem called Pearl and trusting in its promise of consolation, Marianne sets out to make a visual illustration of it, a task that she returns to over and over but somehow never manages to complete. Tormented by an unmarked gravestone in an abandoned chapel and the tidal pull of the river, her childhood home begins to crumble as the past leads her down a path of self-destruction.

But can art heal Marianne? And will her own future as a mother help her find peace?

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  • Siân Hughes is a writer who grew up in a small village in Cheshire where Pearl is set.Her first collection of poetry The Missing (Salt, 2009) was a Poetry Society Recommendation, longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, shortlisted for the Felix Dennis and the Aldeburgh prizes, and won the Seamus Heaney Award. The collection included the elegy ‘The Send-Off’ which won the 2006 Arvon International Poetry Competition.Siân lives in Cheshire with her son, where she owns and runs the independent bookshop Magpie Books. Her first novel Pearl was longlisted for The Booker Prize 2023.

  • The Indigo Press is an independent publisher of contemporary fiction and non-fiction, based in London. Guided by a spirit of internationalism, feminism and social justice, we publish books to make readers see the world afresh, question their...

    See all books by The Indigo Press