By Edith Pearlman
(Little, Brown and Co.)
Edith Pearlman’s fiction is all about the ways we touch each other ― albeit not in the manner we expect. Sure, there are lovers in her stories: husbands and wives, young women and their feckless boyfriends, girls experiencing the first taste of something we might recognize as desire. The connection to which I’m referring, though, is different, involving a kind of witness, a space in which a secret is exposed.
“The dialogue began in a confidential mode and soon acquired a tone of intimacy,” Pearlman explains in “Castle 4,” a story in her new book, “Honeydew,” which describes the relationship between an anesthesiologist named Zeph and the patients with whom he consults before sedating them. Zeph is just one of the characters who functions in the role of a confessor; there is also Paige, the widowed pedicurist at the center of “Tenderfoot,” or Rennie, who appears in several of these pieces, the proprietor of Forget Me Not, a curio shop in the fictional town of Godolphin, Massachusetts. (TNS)