The twenty finalists for the 2011 National Book Awards were announced on Oregon Public Broadcasting at the new Literary Arts Center in Portland, Oregon, yesterday. We’re so pleased to announce that Edith Pearlman’s Binocular Vision (Lookout Books) is included in this prestigious list, along with big contenders like Téa Obreht‘s The Tiger’s Wife and Julie Otsuka‘s The Buddha in the Attic, among others.
And there’s more big news: Edith Pearlman will be at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville this weekend. She’ll be sharing the stage at the War Memorial Auditorium with Ann Patchett Saturday, October 15, from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. You don’t want to miss this!
About the book:
This “finely tuned collection” (Publishers Weekly) of short stories takes us around the world, from Jerusalem to Central America, from tsarist Russia to London during the Blitz, from central Europe to Manhattan, and from the Maine coast to Godolphin, Massachusetts, a fictional suburb of Boston. These charged locales, and the lives of the endlessly varied characters within them, are evoked with a tenderness and incisiveness found in only our most observant seers.
No matter the situation in which her characters find themselves—an unforeseen love affair between adolescent cousins, a lifetime of memories unearthed by an elderly couple’s decision to shoplift, the deathbed secret of a young girl’s forbidden forest tryst with the tsar, the danger that befalls a wealthy couple’s child in a European inn of misfits—Edith Pearlman conveys their experience with wit and aplomb, with relentless but clear-eyed optimism, and with a supple prose that reminds us, sentence by sentence, page by page, of the gifts our greatest verbal innovators can bestow.
Binocular Vision reveals a true American original, a master of the story, showing us, with her classic sensibility and lasting artistry, the cruelties, the longings, and the rituals that connect human beings across space and time.