Most helpful critical review
Pearl is a boy; his mother is a seer.....
on June 30, 2004
This novel is the story of 28-yr-old Even Grade who grew up as an orphan in Mississippi and Joody, a seer, the mother of Pearl (a grey-eyed male). Opening in 1956 in the magnolia state where the two meet; ending five years later (1961) in Alabama, the cotton state, when Pearl is four and his friend Sophy Marie (named after Sophocles) is three. She's the daughter of Grace and Cannan Mosley. Pearl had said, "Girls don't like to be bossed." She uses the Negro language of the fifties.
When I was eleven, I had a half-sister named Mary Ruth Mosley whose mother died and, subsequently, the 3-yr-old child was adopted by someone from her mother's family. The name Mosley brought back memories of the loss of a little girl I loved very much.
This is promoted as a tale of the search for identify and the power of renewal. It is based on one of the stories Ray Haynes passed on to his wife. She uses these quotes (which are signifigant): "Fate has terrible power. You cannot escape it by wealth or war. No fort will keep it out, no ships outrun it" by Sophocles. "Memory believes before knowing remembers. Believes longer than recollects, longer than knowing even wonders," by William Faulkner who knew the South and its inhabitants better than almost any other writer.