Saturday, May 2, 2015

"Honeydew," by Edith Pearlman

One of my best “discoveries” of 2011 was the short story writer Edith Pearlman, who has received too little attention, but whose powerful 2011 collection, “Binocular Vision: New and Selected Stories,” brought her to the attention of many more readers and critics. I was – to use a not very literary term – blown away by that book (see my post of 4/22/11). So I was thrilled to hear that she had a new collection out, “Honeydew” (Little, Brown, 2015), and have recently finished reading it. It didn’t disappoint me. The stories are as compelling as those in the earlier collection. They reach that perfect balance among originality, surprise, delight, beautiful writing, and teaching us something about humanity. As in the earlier collection, many of the stories take place in the fictional small town of Godolphin, Massachusetts. In fact here, more than in “Binocular Vision,” small town life and small town characters (albeit ones who often have histories elsewhere) are the focus. One of my favorite characters, one who appears in several stories, is Rennie, who owns an antique store; she interacts with many of the other characters. I find myself unable to adequately convey what is so special about Pearlman’s stories, but please trust me that the stories, and this collection, are brilliant!
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