Binocular Vision

By Edith Pearlman
Genre: Short Story Collection
Buy Now This book is on reading list for December 2012

Discussion Questions

1. Edith Grossman stated in an interview that “a short story is a conversation between writer and reader. Since only the writer can speak, she must take care to respect the reader, to avoid telling him what to think, to say as little as possible and imply the rest with metaphors, ellipses, allusive dialogue, pauses. The reader then takes an active part in the conversation, supplying what the writer has only suggested.” What do you think of her approach? Do you feel more engaged because of it?

2. Binocular Vision is the name of the collection, as well as one of the stories. Why do you think it was chosen as the title? In what ways do some of the themes from the story carry throughout the collection?

3. Many of the stories take place in Godolphin, Massachusetts, a fictional suburb of Boston. Based on the various people who live there and their interactions with one another, what type of place do you think Godolphin is? What does this setting add to our understanding of the characters and their plights?

4. There are many stories about illness, including “Home Schooling,” and “Self Reliance.” What is your reaction to the way Pearlman deals with this issue?

5. Consider the life of what Miss Huk terms a ‘solitaire.’ What does she mean by this? When does she discover that she is one? How does the myth of the ogre figure into this? What about Lars? What is “On Junius Bridge” really about?

6. In her introduction to the collection, Ann Patchett writes that “the rhythm of the language carried the reader forward as much as the plot.” Do you agree? Find passages where this assessment is particularly true.

Be the first to comment on to “Binocular Vision”

Join the Discussion