LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD • “Fortified with wit and tenderness . . . Gun Love potently illuminates a puzzled land.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST FICTION BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY TIME • SHORTLISTED FOR THE ASPEN WORDS LITERARY PRIZE
The 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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
True to its title, Gun Love is a novel about how guns—and the worship of them—have permeated American culture. But author Jennifer Clement hasn’t written a polemic; her book is an unexpectedly poetic and ultimately beautiful exploration of a horrific subject. Raised by her runaway mother in a car parked next to a Florida trailer park, Pearl is a sensitive, playful teen whose life is forever altered when a gunrunning outsider infiltrates their close-knit misfit community. Dark and lyrical, Gun Love feels like today’s news filtered through David Lynch’s small-town surrealism.
In her excellent fifth novel, Clement (Prays for the Stolen) tackles homelessness, America's love affair with guns, and the economic despair of folks living on the dark edge of society. Pearl is a 14-year-old girl living with her mother in an old car next to a crummy trailer park and the town dump in central Florida. The car has been their home since Pearl was born. She and her mother are dreamers ("It doesn't take too long to figure out that dreams are better than life," says her mother), but their dreams don't spare them from tragedy when cop-killing charmer Eli shows up and woos Pearl's mother, coming between mother and daughter. Eli and trailer neighbors Pastor Rex and Ray are in the gun-running business, selling weapons in Texas and Mexico. When Pearl's small, insular world is shattered by an armed drifter, she starts on a dangerous path that will change the rest of her life. Clement's affecting and memorable novel is also an incisive social commentary that will give readers much to ponder.