THE BOOK OF PEARL, by Timothee de Fombelle, Candlewick, Feb. 6, 2018, Hardcover, $17.99 (young adult)
Fairy tale meets real life in Timothee de Fombelle’s The Book of Pearl.
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. —Synopsis provided by Candlewick
Sarah Ardizzone and Sam Gordon translated The Book of Pearl from its original French. It’s a beautiful, layered book that moves at a languid pace. It’s one you really have to stick with, as there’s no real driving force. However, if you stick with it, you’re rewarded with an imaginative read unlike anything you’ve likely read before.
The Book of Pearl alternates between time periods and worlds, which make for a compelling but slightly confusing first couple of chapters. Further in, elements begin to make more sense, but mystery remains. The highlight of The Book of Pearl came for me in the final few chapters where events unfold in unexpected and lyrical ways.
The Book of Pearl is part romance, part mystery and part adventure that bends reality and asks you to imagine what if…
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