Forgive me for posting again so soon but this news can’t wait: Edith Pearlman just won the National Book Critics Circle Award for her book, Binocular Vision – New and Selected Stories. Of all the exciting things that have been going on lately, nothing is as good as this. I first fell in love with Edith’s work in 2006 when I was editing Best American Short Stories. Two of her stories had made the finals and my hardest job as editor was choosing between them. Later we became friends, and I had the chance to read Binocular Vision in manuscript. Edith hadn’t been able to get a major New York publishing house to take the book. I tried my best to be of help on this front but to no avail. Everyone said they weren’t interested in short stories, and her past books, also prize-winning collections published by university presses, hadn’t been big money makers. Ultimately, she went with Lookout Books in North Carolina, and what a smart move that turned out to be. They cared deeply about the collection and did a great job promoting it.
Then Edith got a knockout review on the front page the New York Times Book Review. That was followed by her winning the PEN/ Malamud Award for excellence in the art of short fiction, a nomination for the National Book Award, and now this. It’s like one of those movies about the small-town football team that goes all the way to win the state championship. You want to stand up and cheer because it’s just so right. This book is brilliant, an enormous gift to those of us who love literature, and I am grateful to every last one of those book critics who recognized that fact. Prizes help bring attention to books, and this is a book that so deserves attention. I send out all the love in the world to my friend Edith. Congratulations!
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