Hardcover: 978-1-942146-16-2
Paperback: 978-1-942146-17-9
eBook: 978-1-942146-18-6

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.

Purchase The Black Inked Pearl: A Girl’s Quest

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A delightfully dreamlike, mystical tale of epic scope, spiritually and erotically charged, and rich in cultural and linguistic play, with hints of Gerard Manley Hopkins, Dante, James Joyce and poetry from the oral traditions of both Ireland and Africa. A fascinating volume. Mike Hanne

Founder of the Comparative Literature programme, University of Auckland

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

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. Karin Barber

Professor, University of Birmingham

I read Black-Inked Pearl with delight and surprise. It is a long, entrancing tale, often touching on the threshold of poetry Itala Vivan

University of Milan, Italy

The book-poem-narrative is very exciting and touches my heart in many ways — poetic, personal, verbal/creative, emotional. Patrick Bond

Nature Poet

I immensely enjoyed it. Very interesting, takes you into another world. Not just  a love story, a spiritual message. Reverend Jan Beer

St Faith’s, The Parish Church of Lee-on-the-Solent

A highly unusual story filled with literary and biblical illusions and new words. Joyce Irene Whalley

Previously Keeper, Victoria and Albert Museum London

GARN PRESS AUTHOR

RUTH FINNEGAN

Ruth Finnegan, OBE, author of The Black Inked Pearl: A Girl’s Quest, 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.

His blog, Living in Dialogue, was launched at Education Week/Teacher in 2008, and has won numerous awards, including a first place prize from the Education Writers of America in 2013. This blog has recently been reborn as an independent site, at livingindialogue.com. He created the Facebook community, Teachers’ Letters to Obama, in 2009, and delivered strong messages of concern to the White House regarding the president’s education policies.

In 2011, he was among the core organizers of the Save Our Schools March in Washington, DC, which brought more than 5000 protesters to the nation’s capital. In 2013, he joined with Diane Ravitch to found the Network for Public Education, a national advocacy group that advocates for meaningful reform, and supports candidates willing to stand up for public schools.

Ruth Finnegan

Ruth Finnegan

Garn Press Author

Ruth Finnegan Videos

Ruth Finnegan, OBE, author of The Black Inked Pearl: A Girl’s Quest, 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.

Black Inked Pearl Videos

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.

Ruth Finnegan Photos

Ruth Finnegan, OBE, author of The Black Inked Pearl: A Girl’s Quest, 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.

Related Ruth Finnegan News

Ruth Finnegan, OBE, 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.

Garn Press Authors Publish Award Winning Books

Garn Press Authors Publish Award Winning Books Garn Press is so convinced the books by Garn authors are a major contribution to our understandings of the most prescient issues of our times that we are continually submitting Garn nonfiction and fiction for major...

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