It's in the Details,
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This review is from: Binocular Vision (Kindle Edition)
My opinion about this volume is divided. I can't quite decide if I really liked it. Some stories worked for me, while I felt let down by others. Perhaps the collection felt checkered because the stories spanned about four decades. There is no doubt, however that Ms Pearlman is a good short story writer. She is able to get under the skin of a character in a matter of a few lines, which is an important skill for writers of the short form.
Most of her stories are set in Boston, specifically in the fictional suburban Godolphin, and many of her characters are Jewish Americans. However, Pearlman rather adroitly inhabits the soul of any one character, whether it be the simultaneous guileless and confident seven-year old girl who becomes separated from her parents in "Inbound", or a 67-year old man who mentors a 17-year old Russian immigrant on American History and much more, in "Girl in Blue with Brown Bag", among many others.
One of the more absorbing stories is "Days of Awe", where a retiree Robert pays a visit to his gay son, Lex, in Central America to see his newly-adopted grandson for the first time, and his touching attempts to bond with the boy, as he deals with his contradictory feelings. He reflects, in one instance, when Lex refuses his money for a trip: "A disappointing fellow. May you, too, have a son like mine, Robert thought - the old curse, the old blessing."
Her prose is glowing, and she mixes the familiar with such an interesting detail that it startles you and forces you to revisit the phrase again, for example in "Vallies", a woman with a mysterious past who somewhat reluctantly becomes a housekeeper for a series of families. At the playground, she observes: "The mommies - there were some of those, too, unmannerly - ignored her entirely: they were too busy boasting about their children as if someday they meant to sell them."