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| 5 From the Editor Mojo Three days before Christmas we got an unexpected telephone call here. Unexpected because the party on the other end of the line was the New York Times. We hadn’t spoken to them before, but it was a pleasant introduction , considering that they were calling to tell us that Edith Pearlman’s Binocular Vision: New and Selected Stories, set to be the debut title for Lookout Books, Ecotone’s partner imprint, would be reviewed by the New York Times Book Review. Naturally we were elated. Our debut! So elated were we, in fact, that the word cover was at first nearly swallowed up in the general excitement of the voicemail they’d left. It returned to us almost as a memory. Probably we had misheard, as when you think your name has been called out in the midst of a crowd and turn your head to find you’re mistaken. But no, we played the message back—and again—and the word cover had definitely been used. Twice. A third playback and still the talismanic word had not disappeared from the recording. So it happened that on January 16, less than a week after the publication of Binocular Vision, the paper of record made the collection the first-ever debut of a small, independent press to be reviewed on the front page of its Book Review. “Why in the world had I never heard of Edith Pearlman?” begins the reviewer, Roxana Robinson, who ends by declaring that Edith, whose “vision of the world is large and compassionate , delivered through small, beautifully precise moments,” has written a book full of “quiet, elegant stories [that] add something significant to the literary landscape.” “Maybe from now on,” suggests Robinson in her concluding line, “everyone will know of Edith Pearlman.” Of course that, or something like it, had been our goal when we published the book. Edith is a writer whose stories exude an uncommon grace, compression , and wisdom. As many people more qualified to speak on the matter than I am have by now agreed, when it comes to the story form she is a master practitioner . After the Times notice, Corriere della Sera, Italy’s most widely circulated daily, ran an article about Edith under the headline “The Writer Who Astonished America.” Binocular Vision sold in Italy, and afterward in Sweden. But then why hadn’t Edith been widely known and appreciated before the appearance of Binocular Vision? She’d been publishing stories of superior quality for more than three decades, after all. So much is beyond the control of the writer—and the editor, for that matter. Perception cannot be channeled. Reception cannot be managed. In the end, the work itself is the only thing fully in one’s power. It’s a good lesson about where to focus our energies. “But do your work,” Emerson told us, “and I shall know you.” The whim of recognition is nowhere more evident than in this very issue. Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you If you’re young at heart. —Carolyn Leigh 6 | ecotone Does the name Nancy Hale ring a bell? If it doesn’t—and I confess it didn’t for me—you might be surprised to learn that Hale was one of the most prolific writers ever for the New Yorker, having sold her first story to the magazine at the age of twenty-three and gone on to publish more than seventy others in the magazine from the 1930s through the late 1960s. She also published twenty novels, and was the first female news reporter for the New York Times. You’d think you’d have heard of her, wouldn’t you? We’re grateful to Ann Beattie for bringing her to our attention, and giving us a chance to reprint this virtuosic story of Hale’s from the mid-1930s. It seems apropos to me for Ann Beattie to have chosen this story, since she herself is experiencing a well-deserved renaissance lately (a renaissance of attention, mind you, and not of the quality of her fiction, which hasn’t flagged in the last four decades, when people were...


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pp. 5-6
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