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Gun Love

By: Jennifer Clement

Publisher: Crown/Archetype

Imprint: Hogarth

Format: Hardcover | ISBN: 9781524761684

Other Formats:

Electronic | Trade Paperback | Audiobook Download

On Sale: | Pages: 256

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Longlisted for the 2018 National Book Awards Shortlisted for the 2018 Aspen Words Literary PrizeA New York Times Editor's Choice Time's 10 Best Fiction Books of 2018Library Journal's Best Books of 2018The searing, unforgettable story of a young girl's resilience, by the award-winning author of Prayers for the Stolen Pearl's mother took her away from her family just weeks after she was born, and drove off to central Florida determined to begin a new life for herself and her daughter--in the parking lot next to a trailer park. Pearl grew up in the front seat of their '94 Mercury, while her mother lived in the back. Despite their hardships, mother and daughter both adjusted to life, making friends with the residents of the trailers and creating a deep connection to each other. All around them, Florida is populated with gun owners--those hunting alligators for sport, those who want to protect their families, and those who create a sense of danger. Written in a gorgeous lyric all its own, Gun Love is the story of a tough but optimistic young woman growing up in contemporary America, in the midst of its harrowing love affair with firearms.
Clement's turn to fiction is oddly dreamy for such a topic, as if to suggest the self-delusion of the real-life actors involved. “My mother was always full of birthday-candle wishes,” comments Pearl, who habitually steals cigarettes in a kind of self-immolation of her own. But the writing is crisp and the images sharp: a field of 63 Barbies buried up to their knees around a trailer; the hatching of conjoined twin alligators “still with white pieces of eggshell on the green, scaly back they shared.”
—New York Times
Dazzlingly written and painfully relevant, Jennifer Clement's brilliant new novel, “Gun Love,” targets American gun culture, focusing on the poverty-stricken denizens of an insulated Florida trailer park community.... Clement's dislike for guns is palpable on the page, and she shows how and why poverty is part of the package.... These transients, damaged veterans and struggling families are all as heartbreaking and resilient as Pearl is, and Clement treats them with grace and compassion. But make no mistake: Because of guns, these people's lives are tragedies just waiting to happen.
—San Francisco Chronicle
There's an echo of Emma Donoghue's “Room” in this story. Pearl speaks in a raw voice that can sound awkward one moment and precocious the next — a wholly believable consciousness for a child raised in such strange, constrained circumstances.... Full of sorrow and aching sweetness, “Gun Love” provides a glimpse of people who dwell every day knee deep in the toxic waste of our gun culture. They may be America's forgotten children, but after reading this novel, you are not likely to forget them.
—Washington Post
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