The Book of Pearl

The Book of Pearl

by Timothee de Fombelle

Hardcover

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Overview

In prose as magical and intricate as the tale it tells, Timothée de Fombelle delivers an unforgettable story of a first love that defines a lifetime.

Joshua Pearl comes from a world that we no longer believe in — a world of fairy tale. He knows that his great love waits for him there, but he is stuck in an unfamiliar time and place — an old-world marshmallow shop in Paris on the eve of World War II. As his memories begin to fade, Joshua seeks out strange objects: tiny fragments of tales that have already been told, trinkets that might possibly help him prove his own story before his love is lost forever. Sarah Ardizzone and Sam Gordon translate the original French into a work both luminous and layered, enabling Timothée de Fombelle’s modern fairy tale to thrum with magic. Brimming with romance and history, mystery and adventure, this ode to the power of memory, storytelling, and love will ensnare any reader’s imagination and every reader’s heart.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Alternating storylines and narrators challenge and beguile, eventually merging into a masterfully interconnected tale in which compelling themes of revenge, love, and devotion transcend both the fairy world's fantasy and the realism of wartime Paris. A luminous, haunting, intriguingly intricate modern fairy tale.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

French author de Fombelle...has created a hauntingly beautiful story that has the weight and imagination of classic fairy tales by the likes of Grimm and Perrault. Can curses be broken? Can lovers be reunited and return to their home world? Or are they doomed to remain in one where they will always be separated? The answers are slowly and tantalizing revealed in beautifully artful ways, proving that ours, too, can be a world of unforgettable stories.
—Booklist (starred review)

The events of World War II make a surprisingly accurate parallel for lost and broken children looking for remnants of their former lives, while elements of the impossible love story resound beautifully throughout. Fans of Inkheart and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will enjoy this fantastical and romantic book, while the sophisticated language, literary devices, and historical background may make this a fine option for a class book study.
—School Library Journal

The Book of Pearl is a celebration of imagination and the power of storytelling. As it builds each layer of the intricate plot, the book itself becomes part of the magic. It is an absolute must for anyone who has ever loved a fairy tale.
—ForeWord Reviews

De Fombelle’s short, abrupt sentences; his vivid combination of settings (from 1940s to current-day France, from the stark fairy kingdom to a decayed Venetian palace); even the namelessness of the narrator make this an irresistible labyrinth of a tale. Most deeply and movingly, the author explores memory, nostalgia, and the power of story to render love immortal. “Life… follows the imagination with fierce loyalty,” Pearl is told; the story sets out to prove it.
—The Horn Book

Kids who want to fall hard into a lovely, exceptionally entertaining read will love The Book of Pearl.
—Noozhawk

School Library Journal

01/01/2018
Gr 5 Up—In this stirring French fantasy, a Pearl is far more than a precious gem. A Pearl is a member of the talented Jewish family who has a gift for producing magnificent artisanal marshmallows in their charming patisserie. During a rainstorm, Monsieur Jacques Pearl rescues and adopts a boy he spies standing frightened and alone in the downpour. It quickly becomes clear that the boy is not of this world; he is from a world of fairy tales, complete with enchanting fay, usurped kings, and dastardly assassins who are on the hunt for the disappeared prince. Chapters set in this fantasy world are interspersed among those that take place in France before, during, and after World War II. Although de Fombelle excels in his romantic and ornate descriptions of the different worlds and characters, readers might find it difficult to follow the disparate narratives. This is not helped by the narrator, a seemingly random character who literally stumbles into the story. Frustratingly, his significance and contribution to the main story remains purposefully muddled for much of the book. However, at its heart, this is a fascinating and epic tale of forbidden love that spans years and universes. The events of World War II make a surprisingly accurate parallel for lost and broken children looking for remnants of their former lives, while elements of the impossible love story resound beautifully throughout. VERDICT Fans of Inkheart and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children will enjoy this fantastical and romantic book, while the sophisticated language, literary devices, and historical background may make this a fine option for a class book study.—Maria Alegre, The Dalton School, New York City

Kirkus Reviews

★ 2017-10-30
Exiled from the "land of fairy tales," a melancholy youth seeks to find his way back. In this richly textured, multilayered story, a prince named Iliån and a fairy named Oliå fall in love in the Kingdoms. Oliå renounces her magical powers to be with Iliån, but a malevolent genie banishes them with the condition Oliå never allow Iliån to see her. Arriving in Paris in 1936, Iliån remembers nothing. Sheltered by the proprietors of the Maison Pearl, Iliån's an amiable, mysterious youth plagued by "frenzies." A book of fairy tales unlocks his memories, triggering Iliån's quest to return to the Kingdoms and to Oliå; he's unaware she's secretly with him. Enlisting in the war, Iliån is captured by the Nazis and then escapes from a German prison camp, fights in the Resistance, and continues his quest, eventually retiring in seclusion with his collection of fairy-tale "tokens of proof." When a boy with a camera invades Iliån's privacy, Iliån sends him away, but 25 years later, the boy, now an adult writer, becomes the teller of this tale. Alternating storylines and narrators challenge and beguile, eventually merging into a masterfully interconnected tale in which compelling themes of revenge, love, and devotion transcend both the fairy world's fantasy and the realism of wartime Paris. A luminous, haunting, intriguingly intricate modern fairy tale. (Fantasy. 12-18)

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780763691264
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication date: 02/06/2018
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 1,232,995
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

Customer Reviews