Binocular Vision: Book summary and reviews of Binocular Vision by Edith Pearlman

Binocular Vision

New & Selected Stories

By Edith Pearlman

Binocular Vision
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2011,
    392 pages.

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Book Summary

In this sumptuous offering, one of our premier storytellers provides a feast for fiction aficionados. Spanning four decades and three prize-winning collections, these twenty-one vintage selected stories and thirteen scintillating new ones take us around the world, from Jerusalem to Central America, from tsarist Russia to London during the Blitz, from central Europe to Manhattan, and from the Maine coast to Godolphin, Massachusetts, a fictional suburb of Boston. These charged locales, and the lives of the endlessly varied characters within them, are evoked with a tenderness and incisiveness found in only our most observant seers.

No matter the situation in which her characters find themselves -- an unforeseen love affair between adolescent cousins, a lifetime of memories unearthed by an elderly couple's decision to shoplift, the deathbed secret of a young girl's forbidden forest tryst with the tsar, the danger that befalls a wealthy couple's child in a European inn of misfits -- Edith Pearlman conveys their experience with wit and aplomb, with relentless but clear-eyed optimism, and with a supple prose that reminds us, sentence by sentence, page by page, of the gifts our greatest verbal innovators can bestow.

Binocular Vision reveals a true American original, a master of the story, showing us, with her classic sensibility and lasting artistry, the cruelties, the longings, and the rituals that connect human beings across space and time.

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Book Awards

  • award image National Book Critics Circle Award, 2012

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A finely tuned collection by writer's writer Pearlman combines the best of previous collections (How to Fall; etc.) with austere, polished new work." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. Give this wonderful collection to fans of such classic short story writers as Andre Dubus and Alice Munro and novelists like Nicole Krauss. They will thank you." - Booklist

"Her writing is intelligent, perceptive, funny and quite beautiful ... Pearlman's view of the world is large and compassionate, delivered through small, beautifully precise moments ... These quiet, elegant stories add something significant to the literary landscape ... The volume is an excellent introduction to a writer who should not need one. Maybe from now on everyone will know of Edith Pearlman." - Roxana Robinson, New York Times Book Review

"Pearlman peels back the surface of the conventional and reveals the more complicated emotions underneath ... All of the pieces here have been exquisitely arranged to make this book. Themes recur; narratives speak to one another - the effect is not so much of a sampling as of a suite. Of all the remarkable things about Binocular Vision, this may be the most compelling, that it enacts a worldview in thirty-four precise and subtle movements, reminding us that if connection is elusive, there is nobility in perseverance, and that we are almost always greater than the sum of our parts." - David Ulin, Los Angeles Times

"Binocular Vision should be the book with which Edith Pearlman casts off her secret-handshake status and takes up her rightful position as a national treasure. Put her stories beside those of John Updike and Alice Munro. That's where they belong." - from the introduction by Ann Patchett, author of Bel Canto

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Edith Pearlman's fiction has won three O. Henry Prizes and has appeared three times in Best American Short Stories, twice in The Pushcart Prize, and once in New Stories from the South. She is the author of three previous story collections: Vaquita (winner of the Drue Heinz Prize for Literature), Love Among the Greats (winner of the Spokane Prize for Short Fiction), and How to Fall (winner of the Mary McCarthy Prize). She lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.

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