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Marking the debut of a stunning new literary talent, Mother of Pearl captures the irony and beauty of life in the Deep South in exquisite prose that brings to mind Kaye Gibbons and Olive Ann Burns. But Haynes creates a wholly distinctive new style by drawing on her own Southern roots and the "noble county" language of her youth in this remarkable first novel.
Set in a small Mississippi town in the late 1950s, Mother of Pearl is populated by wonderfully rich and original characters with themes of identity and the true meaning of family interwoven throughout. The story revolves around twenty-eight-year-old. Even Grade, a black man who grew up an orphan, and Valuable Korner, a fifteen-year-old white girl who is the daughter of the town whore and an unknown father. Their paths cross through Joody Two Sun, a seer, who sets up camp along the riverbank just outside of town and becomes Even's lover. Both Even and Valuable are seeking the family, love, and commitment they never had, and their search ultimately takes both of them to places they never dreamed they'd go.