Pearlman, Edith 1936–
Pearlman, Edith 1936–
PERSONAL: Born 1936; married; children: two. Hobbies and other interests: Reading, walking, matchmaking.
ADDRESSES: Home—Brookline, MA. Agent—c/o Jill Kneerim, Kneerim & Williams, 225 Franklin St., Boston, MA 02110-2804. E-mail—[email protected]
AWARDS, HONORS: Spokane Annual Fiction Prize for Love among the Greats and Other Stories,; syndicated fiction awards, 1987, 1991; Drue Heinz Prize for Literature, 1996; Antioch Review Distinguished Fiction Award, 1999; Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction, 2003, for How to Fall: Stories.
Vaquita and Other Stories, University of Pittsburgh Press (Pittsburgh, PA), 1996.
Love among the Greats and Other Stories, Eastern Washington University Press (Spokane, WA), 2002.
How to Fall: Stories, Sarabande Books (Louisville, KY), 2005.
Contributor of stories to literary journals, including Atlantic Monthly, Smithsonian, Preservation, Yankee, and New York Times. Stories have appeared in anthologies, including Best American Short Stories, O. Henry Prize Collection, Best Short Stories from the South, and The Pushcart Prize Collection.
SIDELIGHTS: Edith Pearlman is an accomplished fiction writer, having published more than 150 stories in a number of literary journals and general-interest magazines. Her work has also appeared in anthologies, including Best American Short Stories, Best Short Stories from the South, and The Pushcart Prize Collection. She is also a travel writer, and has written about her travels to Budapest, Jerusalem, and Tokyo for the New York Times and other national publications. The author noted on her home page that her inspiration comes from the works of such noted authors as A.S. Byatt, Charles Dickens, and Sylvia Townsend Warner.
In 2002, Pearlman published the short-story collection Love among the Greats and Other Stories, for which she won the Spokane Annual Fiction Prize. This collection brings together stories revolving around unusual characters and their complicated relationships. In "Toyfolk," a toy manufacturing executive is transferred to a small town in Czechoslovakia, where he befriends some toy collectors who are not who they seem. In "Fidelity," three characters in their sixties become involved in a complicated love triangle, one that lasts for the next twenty years.
Love among the Greats and Other Stories was met with positive reviews. "Pearlman's characters are interesting and real, the writing elegant and concise," wrote Booklist contributor Marta Segal Block. Other readers found the author's stories to be, not overly dramatic, but powerful in their simplicity and realism. "She tells wonderfully well-drawn stories about people who live uneventfully, but with great richness and contentment," observed Mary Ann Gwinn in a review for the Seattle Times.
In 2005, Pearlman published her third book, How to Fall: Stories, for which she won the Mary McCarthy Prize. With this work the author again brings together the tales of a strange cast of characters in one volume, including a public television anchor, a comedian's silent sidekick, and a seventeen-year-old girl. Many of the stories take place in the fictional Boston suburb of Godolphin, a place of monotony and seeming normalcy. "The Large Lady" involves an unattractive woman's fundraising efforts in suburbia; "Rules" follows a stoic mother and her home-schooled daughter volunteering in a soup kitchen; "Home Schooling" tells the story of twin sisters Willy and Harry and their unusual childhood. Reviewers again praised Pearlman for her work in How to Fall, especially the author's delicate and clever style of storytelling. "Pearlman's light touch and wry tone give the stories a pleasant buoyancy," wrote a Publishers Weekly contributor.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, November 15, 1996, Jim O'Laughlin, review of Vaquita and Other Stories, p. 572; October 15, 2002, Marta Segal Block, review of Love among the Greats and Other Stories, p. 388.
Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2002, review of Love among the Greats and Other Stories, p. 1170.
Publishers Weekly, September 30, 1996, review of Vaquita and Other Stories, p. 60; October 28, 2002, review of Love among the Greats and Other Stories, p. 49; January 17, 2005, review of How to Fall: Stories, p. 34.
Seattle Times, January 30, 2003, Mary Ann Gwinn, review of Love among the Greats and Other Stories.
Edith Pearlman Home Page, http://www.edithpearlman.com (September 27, 2005).
Salon.com, http://www.salon.com/ (February 22, 2005), Andrew O'Hehir, review of How to Fall.