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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Written in Stone

"Mind your quelans," Pearl's grandmother tells her. Having just complained about the injustices of being female, Pearl wonders if she had been disrespectful. Has she minded her manners and taken into consideration her role in the Makah culture in which she lives?

Pearl is the narrator of Rosanne Parry's latest book Written in Stone. Set in the 1920s in the Pacific Northwest, the story focuses on the village's trials after the whalers return without a whale...and without Pearl's beloved father, Victor. Having lost her mother and baby sister five years earlier, Pearl's grief is extreme. She longs to find something at which she can succeed. Basket weaving certainly is not a talent. Girls are not allowed to do the things she would really like to do. If only Pearl had watched more carefully when her mother wove the beautiful blankets.

I loved many things about this work of historical fiction. Pearl's relationship with her grandmother and her aunt Susi helped define her character. She spoke and acted in believable ways, all the while minding her quelans. Yet she surprised me at times with the things she did to look ahead and see what might be best for more than herself. I also felt a connection to her because the story is set in the areas around Lake Quinault near Olympic National Park, one of my favorite places. I imagined that Pearl might have seen sea stars along the shore at low tide, just like I did at Rialto Beach.

1 comment:

  1. You are traveling a lot this summer, both physically & through your beloved literature, yes?
    I will send a card soon. I finally made a post to my blog...