By: Dan Oanta

Mar 05 2015

Category: Fără categorie

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Books February 23, 2015 Issue

Look Again
The stories of Edith Pearlman.
By James Wood

Many of Edith Pearlman’s short stories involve characters who are listening to others or spying on them—the twin conduits, the detail-rich supply lines, of this subtle writer’s system.

Listening is, or should be, intimate, while spying is usually more estranged: Pearlman’s short fiction is interesting for the ways in which it combines proximity and distance.

People are closely attended to and swiftly evoked amid the engrossing particulars of life—clothes, households, parents, children, dailiness of all kinds. But Pearlman can also move back from characters, in order to see the entire span of their lives.

Then she becomes one of God’s spies, condensing a life into a few sentences, taking on the power of prophecy, knowing—as Psalm 121 describes the Creator—“thy going out and thy coming in.”

Pearlman’s stories have begun to reach a wider audience only since the publication of “Binocular Vision,” in 2011. In the title story of that collection, a ten-year-old girl spies on her neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Simon.

From her window, and with the help of binoculars, she fills her vision with the details of their lives—their furniture, their routines, the visits of their housekeeper—but without the knowledge to comprehend what she sees: they are shapes without form.



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