Why in the world had I never heard of Edith Pearlman? And why, if you hadn’t, hadn’t you? It certainly isn’t the fault of her writing, which is intelligent, perceptive, funny and quite beautiful, as demonstrated in “Binocular Vision: New and Selected Stories.” In the world of literary fiction Pearlman is hardly unknown: she’s the author of three previous collections, “Vaquita,” “Love Among the Greats” and “How to Fall”; she has won several prizes; and her work has appeared repeatedly in “Best American Short Stories.” So she should be known all over the place.
The above is from Roxana Robinson's review in today's New York Times of Edith Pearlman's new collection Binocular Vision. It's a sentiment heard from many experiencing Pearlman's work for the first time. I had the pleasure of working with Edith on the Hint Fiction anthology with her marvelous story "Golden Years," which I also ended up reading on Weekend Edition Saturday with Scott Simon (Edith has told me people still compliment her on that story having heard it on NPR).
Of her new collection, T.C. Boyle says "Edith Pearlman is an absolute master of the form: these stories that abjure tricks and flash for brilliantly drawn characters, classic construction, and language that sings and aches all at once." Anthony Doerr says "If you read, write, or teach short fiction -- if you believe gorgeous, scrupulously made literature nourishes the soul -- then you must read Edith Pearlman." And in the collection's introduction, Ann Patchett says:
When I was asked to write this introduction, an invitation I leapt at, I sat down to read the manuscript with a pen in my hand. I thought it would be a good idea to underline some of the best sentences so I could quote them along the way, but I could quickly see the ridiculousness of that idea. I was underlining the entire book. Okay, I thought, just put a check by your favorite stories so you can be sure to mention them, but by the time I'd finished reading the book, every one of them was checked. Every story.
I could mention so many more reviews of this collection -- like David L. Ulin's review in The Los Angeles Times or the fact that Publishers Weekly gave it a starred review -- but instead I'll simply tell you that Binocular Vision is published by Lookout Books and that Edith Pearlman will be at AWP. If you plan to be at the conference too, do yourself a favor and seek her out.