The Book of Pearl

by Timothee de Fombelle

A young prince, Ilian, in love with a fairy, is banished to another world—our... read more

A young prince, Ilian, in love with a fairy, is banished to another world—our world. In late 1930s France, a Jewish couple, the Pearls, take in the homeless young man who appears outside their Paris shop. He becomes like a son to them. When French officials don’t believe the Pearl’s late son is dead, the young man takes the place of Joshua Pearl and joins the French army. As time passes and his losses in this world mount, the prince’s/Joshua’s driving passion becomes tracking down relics from the place he came from as proof that the world of stories is real, in hopes they will help him find his way back. This astonishing work moves between our world and Prince Ilian’s, and between present and past in both places. It includes the story of Olia, the fairy in love with the prince, also banished to our world but who agreed never to let Ilian know she was there in exchange for his life. And it includes the story of a heartsick French teenager who has a memorable encounter with the eccentric, middle-aged Joshua Pearl and grows up to become the masterful teller of this tale, one he finds it impossible to believe even as he is telling it. This extraordinary account of love and exile, cruelty and kindness, loss and longing honors the power of story to hold it all, and all of us, in place. (Age 12 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2019

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