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November 10, 2011 - Image 49

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2011-11-10

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Eastern Europe, though her mother was Nobel Prize-winning Jewish writer lived
born in Providence, R.I.
for a time in Brookline in the 1980s.
Edith was born in Providence too,
"It's wonderful to walk down the
in 1936, and her upbringing was suf-
street and still hear Yiddish. I love and
fused with Jewish culture, if not quite
feel part of a Jewish community. I feel
religion. She was confirmed — "this
home."
was before the time of bat mitzvahs,"
In Brookline, she added, Jewish
she says — even though her father
culture "is in the air. I get a lot of
didn't care much for religion (his father, Jewishness just breathing:'
however, was a rabbi). Nonetheless,
Many of Pearlman's stories are set
Pearlman's parents insisted that their
in a fictional hamlet outside of Boston
children be raised Jewish.
called Godolphin, which some view as a
The results are self-evident in her
stand-in for her hometown.
stories.
"It's essentially Brookline," Pearlman's
"The way she treats Jewish subject
close friend, Debbie Danielpour, a pro-
matter is very nuanced," said Nancy
fessor of film at Boston University, said
Sherman, the former editor of Pakn
of Godolphin.
Treger, a Jewish literary magazine
"And did Edith tell you that she's Miss
published by the Yiddish Book Center,
Brookline?" Danielpour added, noting
which has published Pearlman's work.
that everyone seemed to know her.
"She understands that we don't form
Pearlman's roots in the region go
our identities in a vacuum:'
far back. She grew up in Providence
As much as Pearlman's
and went to Radcliffe, the sister college
stories deal with Jewish
of Harvard, which in
characters or Jewish sub-
the 1950s still did
jects, their themes are
not admit women.
not uniquely Jewish.
Though she had a
"Vaquita" deals with
passion for literature,
a high-powered Jewish
she spent her first 10
health minister in
years out of college
Central America,
working as a computer
Senora Marta Perera
programmer — "I
de Lefkowitz, who
certainly didn't con-
is herself a Polish
sider myself a writer,"
immigrant. But
Pearlman said.
she is again exiled
But her husband, who
amid a govern-
by the mid-1960s was sta-
ment coup.
ble enough financially to
In "The Story,"
support their young family,
the parents of
encouraged her to write.
The National
newlyweds — one
"Why don't you do what
Book Awards wi II be
couple Jewish, the
you want to do?" Pearlman
announced on N ov. 16.
other not — meet
remembers him saying.
for dinner. The
Then, slowly, she set out for a
Jewish mother tells the story of how
literary life.
her father, a Jew living in Paris, saved
She first began writing short first-per-
her brother from the Nazi roundup.
son pieces for small magazines like the
As much as it is about the Holocaust,
Smithsonian in the late '60s. A few years
"The Story" is also about the difficulty
later, it was travel pieces for the New York
of sharing a history with those who are
Times. But still, her main interest was
not a part of it. Something inevitably
in fiction, not journalism. So she began
gets lost in the telling.
contributing stories to literary maga-
When asked if she thinks her sto-
zines that mostly circulate in English
ries are fundamentally about Jews, or
departments, like the Antioch Review
only populated with them, Pearlman
and the Ontario Review.
responded: "I write the world I know,
But even as her renown grew in
but it's broad and general, and they're
Boston, and among a small but signifi-
about human nature."
cant group of writers and editors, she
Her Jewish characters, she says,
avoided major publications. There is no
come naturally. I don't consciously
New Yorker or Harper's or Paris Review
write about them; they just come out of in her resume. Even her latest collec-
me. I'm interested in Jews just like I'm
tion is published by a new imprint,
interested in everything:'
Lookout, funded by the creative writing
Like her characters, Pearlman likes to department of the University of North
live among Jews, too. The sizable Jewish Carolina Wilmington.
population of Brookline, where she's
"I don't feel like being put on the New
lived for much of her adult life, is a sig-
York Times Book Review was in her
nificant pull.
schedule," said Danielpour. "That's not
"I lived around the corner from Saul
her. She just wants to write and have
Bellow," Pearlman said, noting that the
people read it." wi

[(

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Featuring

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November 18th & 19th



THE

REDFORD THEATRE PRESENTS

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"FIDDLER ON THE ROOF"

Live Piano and Organ

General Admission Tickets: $4.00

Show times:

November 18 at 8pm doors open at 7pm live organ 7:30pm
November 19 at 2pm doors open at 1 pm live organ 1:30pm
November 19 at 8pm doors open at 7pm live organ 7:30pm

Free Supervised Parking

Friday, November 18, and Saturday, November 19,
The Redford Theatre presents Fiddler on the Roof
(35mm print, U-A Mirisch, 1971, Technicolor/Panavision)
starring Topol, Norma Crane, and Leonard Frey. A beautiful musical set in the Russian village
of Anatevka, about a milkman, his wife and five dowerless daughters who try to preserve their
Jewish heritage against growing odds.

17360 Lahser Rd. (corner of Grand River and Lahser)
Detroit, Mi. 48219

Publicity Contact: Linda Sites 313333. 0080

Website: www.RedfordTheatre.com

Coming December 2 & 3rd is
Miracle on 34th Street, starring
Edmund Gwenn & Maureen O'Hara.
Tickets are $4.00.

November 10 a 2011

49

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