Over the past several decades, Edith Pearlman has staked her claim as one of the all-time great practitioners of the short story. Her incomparable vision, consummate skill, and bighearted spirit have earned her consistent comparisons to Anton Chekhov, John Updike, Alice Munro, Grace Paley, and Frank O'Connor. Her latest work, gathered in this stunning collection of twenty new stories, is an occasion for celebration.
Pearlman writes with warmth about the predicaments of being human. The title story involves an affair, an illegitimate pregnancy, anorexia, and adolescent drug use, but the true excitement comes from the evocation of the interior lives of young Emily Knapp, who wishes she were a bug, and her inner circle.
"The Golden Swan" transports the reader to a cruise ship with lavish buffets-and a surprise stowaway-while the lead story, "Tenderfoot," follows a widowed pedicurist searching for love with a new customer anguishing over his own buried trauma. Whether the characters we encounter are a special child with pentachromatic vision, a group of displaced Somali women adjusting to life in suburban Boston, or a staid professor of Latin unsettled by a random invitation to lecture on the mystery of life and death, Pearlman knows each of them intimately and reveals them to us with unsurpassed generosity.
In prose as knowing as it is poetic, Pearlman shines a light on small, devastatingly precise moments to reflect the beauty and grace found in everyday life. Both for its artistry and for the recognizable lives of the characters it renders so exquisitely and compassionately, Honeydew is a collection that will pull readers back time and again. These stories are a crowning achievement for a brilliant career and demonstrate once more that Pearlman is a master of the form whose vision is unfailingly wise and forgiving.
Edith Pearlman's last collection, Binocular Vision, won the National Book Critics Circle Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award as well as the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Story Prize. The author of three other story collections, she has also received the PEN/Malamud Award for excellence in the short story.
Her widely admired stories have been reprinted numerous times in The Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, and The Pushcart Prize. A New Englander by both birth and preference, Pearlman lives with her husband in Brookline, Massachusetts.
What People are Saying About This
HONEYDEW is a collection of work so vivid, so true, and so vital that the reader herself comes away all the more real. How can a story do what Pearlman's stories do? She is an incomparable master. Kelly Link, author of Magic for Beginners and Stranger Things Happen
To read an Edith Pearlman story is to sense a mysterious voice singing just under the surface of the prose; it is to be so beguiled by elegance and wit that the inexorable surging power of the story astonishes when it finally hits the reader. HONEYDEW is brilliant. Edith Pearlman is among the greatest of the greats. --Lauren Groff
Edith Pearlman is a master of the short story…Pearlman's characters…are complicated, fully alive. You can't stop reading, because you know they'll astonish you on the very next page. --Alice Mattison, author of Nothing Is Quite Forgotten in Brooklyn
HONEYDEW is a stellar collection, a wide-ranging examination of Pearlman's favorite subjectsthe mysteries of love and friendship, the indignities and compensations of growing older, and the knotty complexities of the human heart. --Tom Perrotta
Pearlman's work pierces right to the heart. She can capture characters and their whole world in a few perfect lines. In HONEYDEW, as in her other collections, her brilliant economy is matched only by her depth of feeling. --Andrea Barrett, National Book Award winner and author of Servants of the Map
T. C. Boyle
Edith Pearlman is an absolute master of the form.…Her language sings and aches all at once. --T. C. Boyle
For nearly five decades, Edith Pearlman has written stories that illumine and educate the mind and heart. HONEYDEW is required reading for all of us who love the short story form. To say it stands with the very best of Pearlman's work is the highest praise I can conceive of. --Jennifer Haigh, PEN/Hemingway Award winner and author of The Condition
If you believe gorgeous, scrupulously made literature nourishes the soul, then you must read Edith Pearlman. --Anthony Doerr, author of All the Light We Cannot See and Memory Wall
A national treasure. Put Edith Pearlman's stories beside those of John Updike and Alice Munro. That's where they belong. --Ann Patchett
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