When his child is stung by a scorpion, pearl-diver Kino is turned away by the doctor because of Kino’s lack of funds. Kino goes diving and finds “the pearl of the world”, a giant pearl that is coveted by many in their small seaside town. After the family is attacked in their home by jealous and greedy neighbors, Kino’s wife decides to secretly get rid of the grievous pearl. Kino finds her in the act and attacks her, retrieving the pearl from her. On his way back into town, he kills another neighbor who is coming after the pearl.
The family flees their hometown and head to the big city to sell the great pearl, but never make it to the big city. Soon after heading out, Kino realizes he is being tracked and the family hides in a cave. A fight ensues and Kino kills the trackers, but not without his own loss, as he comes back to the cave to find that his child has been shot and killed by a stray bullet. Kino & his wife take their child’s body home to be buried and Kino gets rid of the cursed pearl!
This novel focuses on the greed of man and the evil lengths they will go to in order to gain monetary wealth. The novel is reminiscent of Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea [reviewed here]. Very enjoyable read, although somewhat darker than Hemingway’s short story.