By Jan Gardner
Brookline author Edith Pearlman’s fourth collection of short stories is off to an auspicious start with rave reviews on both coasts.
On the front page of The New York Times Book Review, Roxana Robinson writes, “Why in the world had I never heard of Edith Pearlman? … 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.’”
Reviewer David Ulin in the Los Angeles Times takes a similar tack, expressing “the great joy of discovering her [Pearlman], the thrill of coming upon a writer with an eye, and a command of language, so acute.”
In a phone interview on Friday, the self-effacing Pearlman said the pleasure boils down to this: “Every time I have a story published, it gives me permission to keep writing.” She also said, “I am incredibly grateful to the little magazines that have kept me going for decades. They are a wonderful asset to American literature.”
Pearlman, 74, has published 250 stories and essays, the first drafts composed on a manual typewriter. Coming from a line of long-lived forebears, Pearlman said she figures she is “about mid-career.”
“Binocular Vision” is the first book to be published by Lookout Books, the literary imprint of the Department of Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington. Lookout’s mission is to publish books by contributors to the department’s magazine, Ecotone, of which Pearlman is one.
As for the short stories themselves, they cover a lot of terrain, emotional and otherwise. The subjects include a displaced persons camp in Germany in 1947, an aging travel writer seeking revenge against an editor who had an affair with his wife, and a mother who loses her 7-year-old daughter in a crowd.
Pearlman will read at 7 p.m. Tuesday Jan. 18 at Brookline Booksmith and next Sunday Jan. 23 at the annual book party of the National Writers Union’s Boston chapter’s. The NWU gathering will begin at 2 p.m. at the Cambridge Family Y, 820 Mass. Ave., Central Square, Cambridge. Details at www.nwuboston.org/events.html.