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HOW TO FALL

Edith Pearlman, Author
Edith Pearlman, Author . Sarabande $14.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-932511-11-6
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-1-283-15034-7
Ebook - 224 pages - 978-1-936747-06-1
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In her third delicately eccentric collection of short stories, the underappreciated Pearlman (Vaquita ; Love Among the Greats ) pegs characters as diverse as a comedian's silent sidekick, a 17-year-old girl newly independent from her two mothers and a PBS anchor who bemoans after a makeover, "You're not attractive, you know—you only look attractive." More than half of the stories are set in Godolphin, a fictional Boston suburb where daily life is enacted in all its glorious monotony; several explore the mixed emotions roused by charity. In "The Large Lady," an uncomely representative of a fund-raising organization for starving kids manages to shake a gathering of suburban do-gooders from their complaisance, prompting one guest to reflect "Hell gapes for the merely empathic"; in "Rules," a dour mother and her home-schooled daughter rile the volunteers at a soup kitchen. Other stories revolve around twosomes: in "Home Schooling," twin sisters Willy and Harry share a non-traditional childhood; in "Signs of Life," Clara and Valerie have lived through the extraordinary and unimaginable, but consider themselves simply old and in love; in "Shenanigans" the elderly mothers of a dating couple meet and become friends: "They were each other's destiny, hinted the tall old Jewess. The tiny flower of Erin concurred." Pearlman's light touch and wry tone give the stories a pleasant buoyancy. Agent, Jill Kneerim at Kneerim & Williams. (Feb.)

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