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Pearl by Mary Gordon
Pearl, the title character of Mary Gordon's novel, is the only daughter of Maria, a fiercely independent, liberal, and rebellious woman. The novel begins with Maria getting a call from the State Department telling her that Pearl has chained herself to a flagpole outside the American embassy in Ireland and has gone on a hunger strike. Maria calls Joseph, an old family friend who thinks of Pearl as if she were his daughter, and they follow their separate paths to Ireland in hopes of saving Pearl. Mary Gordon has filled this novel with religious discussion and allegories while exploring the concepts of faith, martyrdom, and redemption. Pearl has received mixed reviews with the Boston Globe saying, "Gordon has written an absorbing, affecting tale of family bonds sundered and reknit."