Edith Pearlman has published more 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.

Short Story Collections

Binocular Vision: New and Selected Stories
(Lookout Press, 2011)

reviewed by Sarah Hilary

How to Fall (2005)

Love Among the Greats (2002)

Vaquita (1996)

Interview with Edith Pearlman

The Short Review: 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 it.

TSR: 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.

TSR: Did you have a collection in mind when you were writing them?

EP: 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.

TSR: How did 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 the conflict.

TSR: What 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.

TSR: Do you have a reader in mind when you write stories?

EP: Someone who relishes the collaboration described above.

TSR: Is there 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.

TSR: What are you working on now?

EP:  Mariposa, a long story about women and butterflies.

TSR: What are 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.
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