Binocular Vision: New and Selected Storiesby Edith Pearlman
In this sumptuous offering, one of our premier storytellers provides a feast for fiction aficionados. Spanning four decades and three prize-winning collections, these 21 vintage selected stories and 13 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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Meet the Author
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 Fiction Award), and How to Fall (winner of the Mary McCarthy Prize). She lives in Boston, Massachusetts.
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I read "Self-Reliance" and the next morning, the Daily Literary Quote of the day was from Umberto Eco. "I would define the poetic effect as the capacity that a text displays for continuing to generate different readings, without ever being completely consumed." He says exactly what I was thinking and feeling about "Self-Reliance." I've read it three times and each time it is different and remains new and fresh. How does a story a person has just read, remain mysterious? "Self-Reliance" is a fabulous story and cannot believe I skipped over it in my 2006 Best American Short Story volume. I don't always, in fact, hardly ever, read every story in an anthology so it was my loss until now. It is only a few pages long and in a not very close--which might account for the lingering mysteriousness of it--3rd person point of view with a few shifts. "Self-Reliance" also reminds me how almost every subject has already been written about but that it is the style, form, and voice that make such a difference. The story was first published in Lake Effect journal, then selected for Best American Short Story in 2006 and is now included in the anthology Binocular Vision.
After reading Edith Pearlman's "Binocular Vision," I've become a convert to the short story. This anthology is written with such precision and perception. You'll read these stories, reread them, give copies of the book to close friends as gifts and then discuss the stories endlessly. When you near the end of the book, you'll ration yourself so as not to end the book. The book will end, and you'll read it once more....and some stories even a third or fourth time. It's really short story perfection.