Cover image for Honeydew : stories
Title:
Honeydew : stories
Author:
Pearlman, Edith, 1936-
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Short stories. Selections
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Little, Brown and Company, 2015.
Physical Description:
279 pages ; 22 cm
Summary:
Presents a collection of short stories full of teenage drug use, anorexia, cruise-ship stowaways, and a widowed nail tech who finds herself falling for a client.
Language:
English
Contents:
Tenderfoot -- Dream children -- Castle 4 -- Stone -- Her cousin Jamie -- Blessed Harry -- Puck -- Assisted living -- What the ax forgets the tree remembers -- The golden swan -- Cul-de-sac -- Deliverance -- Fishwater -- Wait and see -- Flowers -- Conveniences -- Hat trick -- Sonny -- The descent of happiness -- Honeydew.
ISBN:
9780316297226
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR: New York Times, Washington Post TOP TEN BOOKS OF THE YEAR: Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor
BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: Wall Street Journal, NPR, Kirkus, Fresh Air (Maureen Corrigan), San Francisco Chronicle
TOP TITLES FOR GIFT GIVING: Chicago Tribune
Longlisted for the 2015 National Book Award -- and a nationwide bestseller.

Over the past several decades, Edith Pearlman has staked her claim as one of the all-time great practitioners of the short story. Her incomparable vision, consummate skill, and bighearted spirit have earned her consistent comparisons to Anton Chekhov, John Updike, Alice Munro, Grace Paley, and Frank O'Connor. Her latest work, gathered in this stunning collection of twenty new stories, is an occasion for celebration.

Pearlman writes with warmth about the predicaments of being human. The title story involves an affair, an illegitimate pregnancy, anorexia, and adolescent drug use, but the true excitement comes from the evocation of the interior lives of young Emily Knapp, who wishes she were a bug, and her inner circle. "The Golden Swan" transports the reader to a cruise ship with lavish buffets-and a surprise stowaway-while the lead story, "Tenderfoot," follows a widowed pedicurist searching for love with a new customer anguishing over his own buried trauma. Whether the characters we encounter are a special child with pentachromatic vision, a group of displaced Somali women adjusting to life in suburban Boston, or a staid professor of Latin unsettled by a random invitation to lecture on the mystery of life and death, Pearlman knows each of them intimately and reveals them to us with unsurpassed generosity.


In prose as knowing as it is poetic, Pearlman shines a light on small, devastatingly precise moments to reflect the beauty and grace found in everyday life. Both for its artistry and for the recognizable lives of the characters it renders so exquisitely and compassionately, Honeydew is a collection that will pull readers back time and again. These stories are a crowning achievement for a brilliant career and demonstrate once more that Pearlman is a master of the form whose vision is unfailingly wise and forgiving.



Author Notes

Edith Pearlman 's last collection, Binocular Vision, won the National Book Critics Circle Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award as well as the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Story Prize. The author of three other story collections, she has also received the PEN/Malamud Award for excellence in the short story. Her widely admired stories have been reprinted numerous times in The Best American Short Stories , The O. Henry Prize Stories , and The Pushcart Prize . A New Englander by both birth and preference, Pearlman lives with her husband in Brookline, Massachusetts.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* In the first of 20 transporting stories gathered here, a lonely art history professor, newly separated from his wife, discovers that he can see into the pedicure parlor across the street from his apartment and devotedly watches Paige at work, ministering to barefoot seekers of comfort and renewal. Incidents of desirous surveillance and magical solace occur throughout this disarmingly pristine, covertly cosmic, and piquantly exhilarating collection by heralded short story master Pearlman (Binocular Vision, 2011). The director of a soup kitchen, about to depart on extended maternity leave, spies on her replacement, who, like so many characters in these tales, possesses mysterious, even shamanistic healing powers often associated with plants or animals. In the hilarious, fable-like Blessed Harry, in which a loving and eccentric Boston family harbors a peculiar plant that lives on coffee, mouthwash, and ashes, Bonnie, a surgical nurse at a Boston hospital, secretly observes Myron, her Ovid-loving Latin-teacher husband at his second job, selling shoes. Ovid is a subtle influence throughout, as Pearlman imagines gentle metamorphoses catalyzed by longing, as in the ravishing title story about the headmistress of a private girls' day school and an anorexic, ant-loving student. Pearlman not only writes with bewitching clarity, she also fathoms much about our inner lives and relationships that is unexpectedly wondrous.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2014 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Following Binocular Vision, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, Pearlman offers this affecting collection that periscopes into small lives, expanding them with stunning subtlety. The title story is a perfect case in point, a snapshot of a private girls' school in Massachusetts, where Alice, the respectable headmistress, has become pregnant by Richard, the father of Emily, a troubled but brilliant 11th grader. In this story, as in others, the relationships of the characters reflect the "nature of people to defy their own best interests." In "Puck," also set in a small Massachusetts town, antique store owner Rennie, "known for discretion and restraint," is drawn to Ophelia, a customer who confesses to a love affair. Rennie breaks "cardinal rule one" and advises Ophelia to pursue another customer. Rennie's heart opens wider in the moving "Assisted Living," in which she lets the elderly Muffy help out at the antique store, and then is required to dispose of Muffy's treasures as a series of accidents leads to an inevitable decline. Other gems include the magical "Dream Children," in which nanny Willa and the father of her ailing charge discover the depth of their connections to the child, and the sensual "Tenderfoot," in which widow and "expert listener" Paige and newly single Bobby-whose wife left him after he refused to stop to help out at a car accident-connect over their shared fate as "survivors now doomed to mourn until the end of their own days." (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

The stories in this collection from National Book Critics Circle winner Pearlman (Binocular Vision) have settings that range from the 1950s to the self-Googling 21st century. In "Hat Trick," four teenage girls pick the name of their future husbands from a hat, while "Blessed Harry," a schoolteacher and part-time shoe salesman, receives a scam email inviting him to give a lecture in London. Pearlman sets a number of stories in Godolphin, MA, "a wedge of Boston"; Godolphin resident Rennie is mentioned in at least four stories including "Blessed Harry." Harry's wife spies on him once a week from Rennie's antique shop; in "Conveniences" she is the unseen aunt and owner of the second-floor apartment where the story takes place, but in "Puck" and "Assisted Living," she and her shop take center stage. The stories all have characters or situations that are a little weird; Harry's family has an anthropomorphic plant; in "Fishwater," Lancelot's aunt writes fictohistoriographia, a genre that through fiction rewrites history; and in "Deliverance," a cook at a soup kitchen uses unorthodox methods to cure mental illness. VERDICT This is good-natured if at times a mildly disturbing compilation that will appeal to most readers of short fiction. [See Prepub Alert, 7/21/14.]-Pamela Mann, St. Mary's Coll. Lib., MD (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.