Book Review: Binocular Vision by Edith Pearlman

Binocular-VisionWhat’s it about?

Edith Pearlman’s Binocular Vision are the collected stories of an award-winning author who has been compared to Alice Munro, John Updike and even Chekhov.

Tenderly, observantly, incisively, Edith Pearlman captures life on the page like few other writers. She is a master of the short story, and this is a spectacular collection.

My thoughts

Binocular Vision….Vision that incorporates images from two eyes simultaneously. The slight differences between the two images seen from slightly different positions make it possible to perceive distances between objects in what is known as depth perception.

This was our book club choice for December and if I’m totally honest, one of my least favourites.

Just reading about the author and the blurb made me feel like I wouldn’t be clever enough to read it but that wasn’t even the issue. The majority of the stories themselves were just boring. I can’t put it any other way. I desperately tried to carry on as it was a book club read and we were going to be discussing them at some point but I honestly didn’t want to continue. The stories are short, most between 12 and 20 minutes long but they are very concentrated with heavy going content – these aren’t light reads.

The book is split into 2 parts – the old stories and new stories (not that this really meant anything to me), there wasn’t really any other differentiation between them.  The stories are set all over the world but mostly seem to be set in the fictional Boston suburb of Goldolphin and some I felt were heavily religiously influenced with most of them featuring some kind of hardship or suffering, there weren’t many with happy themes.

Don’t get me wrong I did enjoy a small percentage of the stories: particularly If Love Were All, Purim Night and The Coat which were about a couple in WW2. Although they are short stories in their own right they do link together which I liked as you do get a better idea of the characters.

Overall, I found I just couldn’t engage with many of the stories or their plots and characters and I think this is best read alongside another book.

Buy the book Paperback | Kindle

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