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Binocular Vision: New & Selected Stories (National Book Critics Circle Award - Fiction) [Paperback]

Edith Pearlman
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 11 Jan 2011 --  

Book Description

11 Jan 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award - Fiction

Edith Pearlman's Binocular Vision are the collected stories of an award-winning author who has been compared to Alice Munro, John Updike and even Chekhov

Tenderly, observantly, incisively, Edith Pearlman captures life on the page like few other writers. She is a master of the short story, and this is a spectacular collection.

'This book is a spectacular literary revelation... With Binocular Vision a new fictional planet, richly populated and suffused with warm lucidity, comes into view.'

Peter Kemp, The Sunday Times

'Gold medal class ... seems beyond compare ... The traditional literary system has worked, though grievously slowly, in giving a genius of the short story her due. '

Mark Lawson, Guardian

'[Pearlman's stories are] meticulously made, miraculously precise, and so fully populated that you marvel one mind could invent so many distinct human beings from scratch. '

Sam Leith, Financial Times

'An unsung master.'

Megan Walsh, The Times

'[These stories are] pearls that encapsulate resonant moments... Make up for lost time now and catch up with Pearlman.'

Ben Felsenburg, Metro

"The literary discovery of 2013... lucid, witty, devastating... a masterclass on how to deliver literature's bittersweet blow in simply a few pages" Sunday Telegraph

'Pearlman writes about the predicaments odd, wry, funny and painful of being human . . . [Her] view of the world is large and compassionate, delivered through small, beautifully precise moments. Her characters inhabit terrain that all of us recognize, one defined by anxieties and longing, love and grief, loss and exultation. These quiet, elegant stories add something significant to the literary landscape.' - The New York Times

'The surprise literary hit of the year to date... The complexity and mess of human lives, beautifully rendered in (often funny) tales.' - Lionel BarberFinancial Times

'The equal of Updike or Munro... This book will make your summer shine.' - Boyd TonkinIndependent

'These are stories to linger over.'  Daily Mail

Edith Pearlman, born in 1936, published her debut collection of stories in 1996, at age 60. In 2011, she won The National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction for Binocular Vision. She has published over 250 works of short fiction in magazines, literary journals, anthologies and online publications. Her work has won three O. Henry Prizes, the Drue Heinz Prize for Literature, and a Mary McCarthy Prize, among others. In 2011, Pearlman was also the recipient of the PEN/Malamud Award, which puts her in the ranks of luminaries like John Updike and Joyce Carol Oates.

Her fans include T.C. Boyle, Ann Patchett and Chris Adrian

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 375 pages
  • Publisher: Lookout Books (11 Jan 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982338295
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982338292
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 13.7 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 522,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'This book is a spectacular literary revelation... With Binocular Vision a new fictional planet, richly populated and suffused with warm lucidity, comes into view.'

Peter Kemp, The Sunday Times

'Gold medal class ... seems beyond compare ... The traditional literary system has worked, though grievously slowly, in giving a genius of the short story her due. '

Mark Lawson, Guardian

'[Pearlman's stories are] meticulously made, miraculously precise, and so fully populated that you marvel one mind could invent so many distinct human beings from scratch. '

Sam Leith, Financial Times

'An unsung master.'

Megan Walsh, The Times

'[These stories are] pearls that encapsulate resonant moments... Make up for lost time now and catch up with Pearlman.'

Ben Felsenburg, Metro

'Pearlman writes about the predicaments odd, wry, funny and painful of being human . . . [Her] view of the world is large and compassionate, delivered through small, beautifully precise moments. Her characters inhabit terrain that all of us recognize, one defined by anxieties and longing, love and grief, loss and exultation. These quiet, elegant stories add something significant to the literary landscape.' - --The New York Times

"The literary discovery of 2013... lucid, witty, devastating... a masterclass on how to deliver literature's bittersweet blow in simply a few pages" --Sunday Telegraph --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Edith Pearlman, born in 1936, published her debut collection of stories in 1996, at age 60. In 2011, she won The National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction for Binocular Vision. She has published over 250 works of short fiction in magazines, literary journals, anthologies and online publications. Her work has won three O. Henry Prizes, the Drue Heinz Prize for Literature, and a Mary McCarthy Prize, among others. In 2011, Pearlman was also the recipient of the PEN/Malamud Award, which puts her in the ranks of luminaries like John Updike and Joyce Carol Oates.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
By Susie B TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
'Binocular Vision' is the latest collection of Edith Pearlman's marvellous short stories; there are 34 stories in all; 21 of which have appeared before - although some of these are in a different format - and 13 new stories. If you haven't heard of Edith Pearlman before, or have not had the chance to read any of her work, then providing you enjoy intelligent and beautifully composed writing, you are in for an unusual treat.

Set in locations around the globe, the reader is taken from Western Europe to Russia, to Israel, Latin America, Central America and beyond, where we have the opportunity to experience other people's emotions as they struggle to cope with a variety of feelings and, for some, a feeling of displacement and disconnection. In these stories, whether the author is writing about a lost child in an unfamiliar landscape; a couple helping to relocate Jews in Europe after World War II; a 10-year-old girl who spends her afternoons spying on her neighbours as she imagines the story of their marriage; an elderly woman in a hospital confessing to her doctor of her mother's secret tryst in the woods with the Tsar; or an elderly couple's decision to shoplift, then Edith Pearlman is able to dissect through to the inner life of her characters to reveal the extraordinary lying beneath the surface.

Some of these stories are closely related and others stand alone, like small jewels; sometimes you might think you know how a story is going to develop, but then the author turns it into something quite different. I originally started this review listing my favourite stories and some of the best pieces of prose, but I found so much to remark on throughout the book that if I had continued, this would have been a very long review.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short stories with a broad vision 18 Mar 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I had never read anything by Edith Pearlman until a review flagged her up as "possibly the best writer you have never heard of."

I think that may be no exaggeration. Each story creates a whole world with economy, involving the reader in that world and in the lives of the central characters. Often I was reluctant to leave them behind as the story ended.
Some of her characters may have unusual choices to make, yet it is always possible to identify with them and their dilemmas.
Her prose is unfussy, precise, on occasions magical.
I intend to reread - one day.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By A Common Reader TOP 50 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
Edith Pearlman has been writing short stories for many years (she is now 76), and although she has won various prizes and been published in prestigious journals, fame has eluded her. With Binocular Vision, Pushkin Press have published a collection of her work spanning the last 40 years. Having read it cover to cover, I must agree with other reviewers (including Anne Patchett, who wrote the introduction to the book) that she is a very fine writer who has mastered the art of the short story and deserves to be numbered among the greats of the genre.

It is the quality of the writing that marks Edith Pearlman out. Her elegant prose captured me right from the start - these stories are just so very well-written. She has a faultless style which sometimes brought me up short as I had to re-read sentences to allow their impact to sink in. But more than that, her range of subject matter is so vast you can never had any idea what the next story will be about.

The book is full of insightful, finely-honed chapters in people's lives. We read of Robert, an elderly man whose gay son comes to stay with the little South American boy he is adopting. The child has been brought up in an overcrowded orphanage and is underdeveloped both physically and mentally. Robert is full of doubts about the course his son has taken, particularly as he has recently broken up with his long-term lover. As the story develops we read of Robert's struggle to reach the point where he can think of this unattractive, troubled child as his grandson.

In Settlers, a retired teacher lives in an inner-city area which is being repopulated by immigrant communities yet manages to find meaning and hope among his new neighbours.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Novelist, People Lover and Psychiatrist. 15 Mar 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought Binocular Vision through Amazon because it had a truly marvellous review in The Sunday Times. I was more than wary as I normally avoid short stories, but no, I was hooked from the first page. I thought I could and should ration myself to just two stories a day, in order to fully appreciate them, but could not, as it was impossible to put the book down!

To describe Edith Pearlman as a short story writer, as The Sunday Times does, is an injustice in my opinion. Her prose is perfect, her characters are full-bodied, the situations they find themselves in, do for them ring true. Further, while she does not break into verse, I would say she certainly has the soul of a poet as well as the mind of a Pychiatrist - a Psychiatrist who loves people as well as knowing what makes them tick.

Over the top am I? Read the book yourself and try saying that to me again!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius 3 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
These stories will stay with me forever. I never understood before why people wrote short stories instead of full novels but now I do. She is a genius
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I was not disappointed. Brilliant stories bring alive the worlds she...
This is a fabulous book. I actually read it again almost immediately because I felt I would get as much from a second reading as from the first. I was not disappointed. Read more
Published 2 days ago by S. Rayner
5.0 out of 5 stars As Anne Patchett said, should be universally known about and praised
This is unique and subtle writing, many of the short stories powerful enough
to encapsulate something very complete. Read more
Published 2 months ago by T. Loewenstein
5.0 out of 5 stars A real gem
It appears from the endorsements in the front of this collection that, as in my case, hardly anyone had heard of this wonderful writer until BINOCULAR VISION came out in 2011. Read more
Published 2 months ago by J. Griffiths
2.0 out of 5 stars Hard going
I was looking forward to reading this book, given the strong reviews. But it was a big disappointment: in general the storylines are thin, the characters uninvolving and the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by hollui
5.0 out of 5 stars Short stories at their best
.I have to read and re-read each. There is such subtlety and diversity. The stories take me round the world of countries and cultures and open my eyes.
Published 4 months ago by judith verity
3.0 out of 5 stars Diverse short stories
Pearlman is a master of imagination. I understand she never writes full-length novels. This is a pity. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mr. P. J. Laidlaw
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacularly written stories
I do not usually like to read short stories; I always feel they require a lot of emotional involvement for little reward and I often regret that these stories end just as I am... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Mme Suzanne Lageard
2.0 out of 5 stars Not one for me
"Binocular Vision....Vision that incorporates images from two eyes simultaneously. The slight differences between the two images seen from slightly different positions make it... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Bookboodle
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific collection of short stories
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was well written and full of insight into the various characters. Read more
Published 5 months ago by sy
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Each story is perfectly crafted: acutely observed and displaying a miraculous skill with language, not a single superfluous word. Read more
Published 6 months ago by marmski
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