Siân Hughes

The Indigo Press is an independent publisher of contemporary fiction and non-fiction, based in London. Guided by a spirit of internationalism, feminism and social justice, we publish books to make readers see the world afresh, question their behaviour and beliefs, and imagine a better future.

Siân Hughes

Siân Hughes is a writer who grew in up a small village in Cheshire where the story of Pearl is set. Returning to live there after her mother’s death, she borrowed from the medieval poem Pearl to write a story set in an old house she cycled past every day as a child.

Her first collection of poetry The Missing (Salt, 2009) was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, shortlisted for the Felix Dennis and Aldeburgh prizes, and won the Seamus Heaney Award. 

Pearl is her first novel.

Pearl

Marianne is eight years old when her mother goes missing.

Left behind with her baby brother and grieving father in a ramshackle house on the edge of a small village, she clings to the fragmented memories of her mother’s love; the smell of fresh herbs, the games they played, and the songs and stories of her childhood.

As time passes, Marianne struggles to adjust, fixated on her mother’s disappearance and the secrets she’s sure her father is keeping from her. Discovering a medieval poem called Pearl and trusting in its promise of consolation, Marianne sets out to make a visual illustration of it, a task that she returns to over and over but somehow never manages to complete.

Tormented by an unmarked gravestone in an abandoned chapel and the tidal pull of the river, her childhood home begins to crumble as the past leads her down a path of self-destruction. But can art heal Marianne? And will her own future as a mother help her find peace?

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