Five-Star Amazon Reviews for Black Inked Pearl: A Girl’s Quest by Ruth Finnegan

Great 5-star customer reviews of Black Inked Pearl: A Girl’s Quest, by Ruth Finnegan. Finalist in the “Visionary Fiction” category, 10th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards. Available for purchase in hardcover, paperback, and as an ebook.

Ruth-finnegan-black-inked-pearl-garn-pressBlack Inked Pearl A Girl’s Quest

Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-942146-16-2
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-942146-17-9
eBook ISBN: 978-1-942146-18-6
Paperback: $17.95
Hardcover: $27.95
Ebook: $9.99
Hardcover and Paperback: Amazon, Barnes & Noble
eBook: Apple iBooks, Kobo eBooks

 

 

 

Reviews

“A highly unusual story filled with literary and biblical illusions and new words.”, Joyce Irene Whalley, Author of The Art of Calligraphy  and A History of Children’s Book Illustration, Previously Keeper, Victoria and Albert Museum London

“Amazing! I enjoyed it tremendously; it’s light, floating, visual – I am back in Donegal of a long time ago – good …” – Dasck Eve Defin, Literature teacher, Birmingham, Author of the historical memoir Indulgence

“It all started to hang together for me and become increasingly clear as a message for me and where I am at the moment – to open myself to new areas of experience, some of which may be painful (I hope not!); the message of the book is that there is a route to be found. I welcome the contact with things beyond my normal frontiers. It has been a valuable experience reading it.”- Jim Graham, School Counsellor, Southampton, England

“The book-poem-narrative is very exciting and touches my heart in many ways — poetic, personal, verbal/creative, emotional …“ – Patrick Bond, Nature poet, Lewes East Sussex

“It’s certainly a big change from Ruth’s earlier books, which I happen to admire very much. I loved the bits where the poetry is so closely linked with her childhood memories.” – Professor Paul Thompson, Oral historian, London

“I’m reading (and enjoying) The Black-Inked Pearl. Echoes of Joyce, and Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s narrative style in Sunset Song …” – Morag Grant, Scottish music researcher

“I’ve been enjoying the very evocative chapters on Donegal. I like the way it plays with language and the poetic stream of consciousness. and there’s definitely a strong sense of a teenager awakening to adulthood in all sorts of ways!” – Janet Maybin, Schools literacy specialist, The Open University

“A lovely novel. What an extraordinary achievement, to switch from academic writing to this imaginative and exploratory fiction. I saw some of the author’s scholarly preoccupations coming through, notably the role of memory and quotation, and I loved the way Kate’s reflections are so bound up with poetry. The assemblage and juxtaposition of genres struck me as having an effect very much in keeping with African-language prose fiction, where genre boundaries are constantly breached and where long passages of oral poetry might be incorporated into a descriptive or narrative sequence. Very many very warm congratulations on pulling this off. I was fascinated to read about the starting point in a long series of dreams: the novel itself is a dream.”, Professor Karin Barber, Departments of African Studies and Anthropology, University of Birmingham, UK

“Different, fresh. I loved the stream of consciousness Joycean style. Trance-like.” – Denise Saul, Poet and fiction writer, Winner of Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice 2007, London

“Thoroughly enjoyable.” – Yvette Purdy, University Course Manager, Milton Keynes

“Gripping.” – Rachel Backshall, Classics student, University of Oxford

 

Five-Star Amazon Reviews

A Renowned Classical Scholar And A Writer Of Great Style, Imagination

Black Inked Pearl: A Girl’s Quest, is the first novel by Ruth Finnegan, a renowned classical scholar and a writer of great style, imagination, profundity, and wit. “The Black Inked Pearl is a magical book of lost love — an epic journey, an ancient mystery reinterpreted, a faerie tale, a parable, a poem, a nightmare, a daydream. The question that constantly comes to mind when reading is: Can a book be an incantation or a spell?” I regard the Black Inked Pearl: A Girl’s Quest to be a rare work of genius, a novel that is unparalleled in modern times on dream, dementia, and truth. The passions, troubles, torments and griefs running through the novel can be traced back to Homer. Soranzo’s Adamo and Milton’s Paradise Lost are reflected in the text and Shakespeare’s sonnets are ever on the page. James Joyce is also present. Others too — so many classical and literary influences. Even so, the style is uniquely Ruth Finnegan’s. In writing the novel she has created more than two thousand new words – all easy to read because of their Greek and Latin roots. Part narrative, part verse, the reader quickly becomes familiar with the cadence of the story and in next to no time falls in love with Kate. I hope you enjoy the novel. It is magical and compelling and a delight to read.

The Hungry Monster Book Review

Within this book Ruth Finnegan flawlessly blends poetry with prose that brings beauty and intrigue to the story. It takes rare and exceptional talent to blend the two genres together in a way that doesn’t disrupt the story and Finnegan found that perfect balance. Finnegan expertly brings forth all of Kate’s emotions throughout the story, it is almost unbelievable that this is her first novel. She has a writing style that is truly unique and cannot be compared to anything else I have read. Black Inked Pearl: A Girl’s Quest does have a few Christian elements to its story although it didn’t come across as overwhelming.

The novel is about love and romance, but it is also about life experiences that shape and mold the person we become. Finnegan presents this in a way that expands the mind; it makes the reader ponder their own life experiences and how those experiences affected their lives.

A Dream Of Love And Words

Mikhail Bakhtin wrote, “I live in a world of others’ words,” and Ruth Finnegan has recently written about the practice of quotation in literature, culture, and daily life. The central dynamic of her new novel is the search by a woman named Kate for a lost or abandoned love, but such a mild description hardly does justice to the text. Finnegan intentionally and extensively manipulates language. The many neologisms and unorthodox spellings “are deliberate, a play with language, allowed (it seems) to poets and verbal artists, as in, for example, Gerald Manley Hopkins’ poetry or James Joyce’s prose,” she says in the unnumbered introductory author’s note. No doubt many readers will recognize a sense of Joyce in “Black Inked Pearl.” She further proudly confesses to “literary allusions throughout the book” going back as far as Homer. “Only some of the many allusions in the novel are annotated, left to my readers, if they so choose, to winkle out.” Along with idiosyncratic spellings and literary allusions, the novel is punctuated by verse, and the entire narrative “is interlaced with the eternity of love and the ambiguity between dream and reality, indicated by a style that grows more poetic, riddling and dreamlike as the story unfolds.” Do Kate and her lover reunite? It would be too ordinary to say that they did or did not. The reunion is probably beside the point, and a resolution could only bring the dreamlike tale crashing down to reality. The sense of the story is an almost unbearable intensity of love, a quest through heaven and hell in search of the human, a Joyce-meets-Dante vision in which the particular lovers are personifications of the archetype of lovers–“Abelard-Eloise, Isolde-Tristan, Guinevere-Lancelot, Euridice-Orpheus, Pelion-Ossa, Patrochus-Achilles, Dido-Aeneas,” as she adds in the endnotes (and who besides a literature scholar like Finnegan would include endnotes in a novel?). As these references to great literary pairs indicate, Finnegan and all of us are not only living in a world of others’ words but of others’ paradigmatic acts. We have many models of love and lovers to emulate, our own love almost always a dimmer shadow of the profound, almost superhuman love of these mythologized figures. Although Finnegan does not say so, she may also mean that at some point words fail, that emotions as poignant as love and lost cannot be fully expressed in language, at least not in colloquial language.

A Spellbinding Epic

Ruth Finnegan’s Black Inked Pearl: A Girl’s Quest is a Dantean epic which strikes at the heart of romance in a classical sense— Greene’s Romance, as a medium of travel and imagination; Sappho’s, as an exploration of pain and overcoming; the romance of the Rubaiyat and the Song of Songs and the whole thrust of the cannon— and yet too romance as a still-living, modern subject… as that shadowy matter in every heart, that unknown thing that drives us all: that universal that can never be exhausted, not matter the trillion words or million times tried. Ms. Finnegan has managed, by approaching love itself through both ancient models and contemporary perspectives, to produce a work that strikes at the primeval level of understanding while functioning equally well as a cogent guide to traversing the barbs and boundaries of romantic life today.

Told through a journeyed dreamscape, Black Inked Pearl presents love’s heightened reality, fantastic only in proportion to the turbulent emotional world known well to any who has experienced pining, striving, and heartache. Ms. Finnegan expresses her heroine’s odyssey through such a blend of allegory and specificity, archetype and uniqueness, that the reader feels thrown into prehistoric legend, while at the same time sharing in something wholly new and wholly personal— a raw confessional hung on a collective, cosmic scaffolding.

The writing itself is stark and evocative, drawing on poetic imagery while remaining grounded in the matter at hand. The narrative compels with tragedy and hope, exposing the reader to a complex inner-world both spellbinding and dramatically active. There is an unspoken power to Black Inked Pearl which rises out from beneath the text with the resonance of a spell, a phantom genius lurking within the very composition of the words. For those daring enough to venture into the enormity of romance in its most awesome form, this is the book for you.

A Mind-blowing Experience

I find it hard to find words to express my reaction to reading this absolutely creative novel. I read it quite slowly, over a week, when I felt relaxed from whatever the day had brought, and it moved me into a completely different space – it opened up for me an intuition of a range of emotional states, of the search to redress missed opportunities which were not recognized for their significance at the time, of the mesmerizing echoes of poetry, myths and fairy tales, and of the sense of being a captive of different contexts and circumstances in which one can become engulfed. And a recognition that a particular motivation can become transformed over time. It has been a great and totally unexpected experience, and one which I hope many other readers will share on reading Ruth Finnegan’s book.

What Dictates Our Diction, Suggests What We Love, And Why We Love?

Black Inked Pearl goes beyond the clichéd ilk of the traditional love story. The reader and the central character Kate essentially embark on a journey of discovery.

And, what do we learn at the end of this enchanting tale? The only truth worth learning – nothing is real, but love! When all is gone from this world all that remains and all that matters is love. It is worth living for…it is worth dying for…it is worth breaking into the very bounds of heaven to obtain.

In this novel diction and prose like love are free and unbound by linguistic and cultural preconceptions of style and syntax. Black Inked Pearl measures beyond measure the idea of self-discovery, and spiritual understanding.

Ruth Finnegan takes the reader on a journey fusing together Irish and African culture in her very own distinctive style. If you are look for an exceptional read, or the ideal Christmas gift, I would high recommend this novel.

A Renowned Classical Scholar And A Writer Of Great Style, Imagination

Black Inked Pearl: A Girl’s Quest, is the first novel by Ruth Finnegan, a renowned classical scholar and a writer of great style, imagination, profundity, and wit. “The Black Inked Pearl is a magical book of lost love — an epic journey, an ancient mystery reinterpreted, a faerie tale, a parable, a poem, a nightmare, a daydream. The question that constantly comes to mind when reading is: Can a book be an incantation or a spell?” I regard the Black Inked Pearl: A Girl’s Quest to be a rare work of genius, a novel that is unparalleled in modern times on dream, dementia, and truth. The passions, troubles, torments and griefs running through the novel can be traced back to Homer. Soranzo’s Adamo and Milton’s Paradise Lost are reflected in the text and Shakespeare’s sonnets are ever on the page. James Joyce is also present. Others too — so many classical and literary influences. Even so, the style is uniquely Ruth Finnegan’s. In writing the novel she has created more than two thousand new words – all easy to read because of their Greek and Latin roots. Part narrative, part verse, the reader quickly becomes familiar with the cadence of the story and in next to no time falls in love with Kate. I hope you enjoy the novel. It is magical and compelling and a delight to read.

 

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