Pearl Weaver’s Epic Apol­ogy

Rachel Keener

Foreword Reviews - - Reviews Comics & Graphic Novels / Children’s - MICHELLE ANNE SCH­IN­GLER

Cre­ate Space Soft­cover $10.99 (373pp) 978-0-692-83740-5

Pearl Weaver con­tains the best parts of South­ern charm, draw­ing upon the story part of re­li­gious tales, and show­ing how those lit­er­ary in­her­i­tances be­long to all.

If Pearl could: she would edit her life to per­fec­tion. She would trim out the tears; she would bring back the dead. Hard turns teach her the true na­ture of our life sto­ries, though, in Rachel Keener’s lovely, lilt­ing bil­dungsro­man, Pearl Weaver’s Epic Apol­ogy.

Pearl, the daugh­ter of a proud South­ern poet and the de­scen­dant of re­bel­lious mill­town lint­heads, breathes sto­ries—both from works of great fic­tion and from her fam­ily’s fabled past. She is a girl who lives with Jane Eyre and Perse­phone in her heart and who won­ders what it is about vel­vet “that could make a girl so brave.” She is also des­per­ate to write her­self a beau­ti­ful life, free from the pain and cruel twists of the sort that claimed both of her par­ents.

Her faith in the magic that runs be­neath lines, though, makes her some­thing of an odd­ball among her con­tem­po­raries, and life is made no eas­ier by her grandiose per­for­mances. When one dis­play is taken too far, Pearl is forced to flee from home with her best friend, Katie, at her side. She’s cer­tain that won­ders await them, some­where in the wilds of Alaska, where worms wind through ice and frozen crea­tures come back to life, but she is bound for a hard course in cold re­al­i­ties. Not ev­ery un­happy chap­ter can be rewrit­ten.

Keener’s novel is L. M. Mont­gomery come South. It ar­rives in a swirl of lovely metaphors and breath­tak­ing per­spec­tives. Some of its events ex­ist slightly be­yond the realm of the prob­a­ble, but its turns, fan­tas­tic or not, are al­ways sweetly met.

Turns to­ward faith come as some­what as a sur­prise—par­tic­u­larly within Pearl’s South­ern man­sion, where only the church part of tra­di­tion was point­edly not hon­ored–but Keener han­dles her bi­b­li­cal turns deftly. Pearl Weaver con­tains the best parts of South­ern charm, draw­ing upon the story part of re­li­gious tales, and show­ing how those lit­er­ary in­her­i­tances be­long to all—even to lint­heads; even to thieves; even to those who can­not read, but who still find a way to breathe, and live, the Word.

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