Garn Press Video Interviews: Ruth Finnegan Author of The Black Inked Pearl: A Girl’s Quest
Ruth Finnegan, OBE, author of The Black Inked Pearl, is a renowned scholar and celebrated writer who is Emeritus Professor, the Open University, a Fellow of the British Academy, and an Honorary Fellow of Somerville College Oxford. She was born and reared in Ulster and sent to a Quaker school filled with biblical texts and music, which are reflected in the novel. First-class Oxford degrees in classics and philosophy were followed by African fieldwork, which Ruth describes as “totally inspiring for my life and work.” She returned to Oxford for a doctorate in anthropology before university teaching in Africa and briefly in Fiji, and finally the Open University in the U.K. She has three wonderful daughters and five grandchildren, and she lives with her husband and two cairn terriers in Old Bletchley, Buckinghamshire. It gives Garn Press great pleasure to present Ruth Finnegan.
Black Inked Pearl: A Girl’s Quest
An epic romance about the naive Irish girl Kate and her mysterious lover, whom she rejects in panic and then spends her life seeking. After the opening rejection, Kate recalls her Irish upbringing, her convent education, and her coolly-controlled professional success, before her tsunami-like realisation beside an African river of the emotions she had concealed from herself and that she passionately and consumingly loved the man she had rejected.
Searching for him she visits the kingdom of beasts, a London restaurant, an old people’s home, back to the misty Donegal Sea, the heavenly archives, Eden, and hell, where at agonising cost she saves her dying love. They walk together toward heaven, but at the gates he walks past leaving her behind in the dust. The gates close behind him. He in turn searches for her and at last finds her in the dust, but to his fury (and renewed hurt) he is not ecstatically recognised and thanked. And the gates are still shut.
On a secret back way to heaven guided by a little beetle, Kate repeatedly saves her still scornful love, but at the very last, despite Kate’s fatal inability with numbers and through an ultimate sacrifice, he saves her from the precipice and they reach heaven. Kate finally realises that although her quest for her love was not vain, in the end she had to find herself – the unexpected pearl.
The novel, born in dreams, is interlaced with the ambiguity between this world and another, and increasingly becomes more poetic, riddling and dreamlike as the story unfolds. The epilogue alludes to the key themes of the novel – the eternity of love and the ambiguity between dream and reality.
“A highly unusual story filled with literary and biblical illusions and new words.”, Joyce Irene Whalley, Author ofThe 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
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-942146-16-2
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-942146-17-9
eBook ISBN: 978-1-942146-18-6
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Amazon Kindle Matchbook: Purchase the Black Inked Pearl print book and buy the Amazon Kindle ebook version for just $2.99. This $2.99 ebook deal also applies to customers who previously purchased the print book.
Great news for readers of Garn books – all of Garn’s Amazon Kindle eBooks are now available through Amazon’s “MatchBook” program! When you buy the print version – either paperback or hardcover – of any Garn book from Amazon.com, you can also get the Kindle version for just $2.99. That’s less than a third of the normal retail purchase price of $9.99! Equally good news is that if you have previously purchased any Garn print book from Amazon.com at any time in the past, you can also now buy the Kindle version for the same $2.99.