than 250 works of short fiction and non-fiction in national
magazines, literary journals, anthologies, and on-line publications.
Her work has appeared in Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry
Prize Stories, New Stories from the South, and The Pushcart Prize
Best of the Small Presses. She is the recipient of the 2011 PEN/Malamud award.
Binocular Vision: New and Selected Stories
(Lookout Press, 2011)
by Sarah Hilary
How to Fall (2005)
Love Among the Greats (2002)
with Edith Pearlman
How long did it take you to write all the stories in your collection?
Edith Pearlman: The Selected stories were written during the past three decades, the New
during the past five years. As for
any individual story, each took about two months plus the lifetime that preceded
Did you notice anything about your writing as you came to select stories from your previous collections to include?
EP: Yes -- I seem to write a lot about children who are damaged in various
ways. Can't explain it (yet) though it's on my mind. It has no
connection with my outer life.
have a collection in mind when you were writing them?
Yes. Magazines and journals tend to decay or get thrown out. A
collection – a book – lasts longer. So I always hope that every story
will be published twice – in a periodical and then in a collection. But
most of my stories are “linked” only in that they have the same author.
you choose which stories to include and in what order?
EP: I try for variety – in settings, centuries, length; in the sexual
preference of the characters and the gender of the protagonist; in the nature of
does the word "story"
mean to you?
EP: It means love affair. You
the reader and I the author – or another author and I the reader -- are
collaborating in unveiling someone’s obsessive desire; in opening someone’s
grieving heart; in discovering, or at least searching for, a new and abiding
truth. By the end of this adventure
we are a little bit in love.
Do you have a reader in mind when you write stories?
EP: Someone who relishes the collaboration described
anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your collection, anything at all?
EP: Where did the author get in the way of the story – telling too much,
telling too little, showing off, opting for the facile instead of the true.
TSR: How does
it feel knowing that people are buying your book?
EP: Worried. Are they reading
them or just buying them. I am
reassured by fan mail -- can’t get enough of it.
What are you working on now?
EP: Mariposa, a long story about women and butterflies.
the three most recent short story collections you've read?
EP: A.S. Byatt’s The Little Black Book
of Stories; Chris Adrian’s A Better
Angel; Fire by Peter Dickinson
and Robin McKinley.