This winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and finalist for the National Book Award collects nearly three dozen short stories from this "writer's writer," taking readers around the world and through time—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.
It's standard to marvel at the amounts of energy and time that can be covered over the fictional sprint distance, but Pearlman is gold medal class at such compressed athleticism ... Issues of racial assimilation and forbidden longing are accommodated with improbable ease in another example of Pearlman perfecting the short-story's Tardis-like trick of having more going on inside than seems possible from the external dimensions. This is achieved through exacting standards of economy in both prose and dialogue; a sentence—even a single word—will be crammed with detail and meaning ... There are echoes of Updike...but such are the multitudes of subject matter, place and structures in this collection that Pearlman finally seems beyond compare. The traditional literary system has worked, though grievously slowly, in giving a genius of the short story her due.
...intelligent, perceptive, funny and quite beautiful ... Pearlman’s prose is smooth and poetic, and her world seems safe and engaging. So it’s arresting when, suddenly, almost imperceptibly, she slips emotion into the narrative, coloring it unexpectedly with deep or delicate hues ... Pearlman doesn’t limit herself to the darker emotions. She has a finely developed sense of the absurd, and comic moments ripple through the narrative ... Pearlman’s view of the world is large and compassionate, delivered through small, beautifully precise moments. Her characters inhabit terrain that all of us recognize, one defined by anxieties and longing, love and grief, loss and exultation. These quiet, elegant stories add something significant to the literary landscape ... the volume is an excellent introduction to a writer who should not need one. Maybe from now on everyone will know of Edith Pearlman.
...one of the truly great things about Pearlman’s writing: its diversity of story and setting ... Binocular Vision is, in many ways...broadcasting her character, her tone, and her ability to the larger world. She is setting a firm stake in the literary landscape that she is a writer to be reckoned with, and even more importantly, that she is a teller of stories that delight, challenge and inspire the reader.