“I like this place because everything they have can kill you,” Edith Pearlman says, perusing the menu of a Brookline pub on a recent gray afternoon. The remark proves fitting introduction to both the septuagenarian author and her work: at once mischievous and mettlesome, with a twist near the end.
Despite publishing over 250 short stories and four prize-winning collections over the past 40 years, Pearlman has long eluded the attention of all but a modest, ardent cadre of readers. That changed when her fourth book, “Binocular Vision,” was lauded last year on the cover of The New York Times Book Review. It went on to garner more splendid reviews along with a bouquet of awards (National Book Critics Circle, PEN/Malamud, and Edward Lewis Wallant), prestigious nominations (National Book Award, Story Prize, and Los Angeles Times Book Prize) and, perhaps most gratifying, a wider audience.