Edith Pearlman’s collection of short stories "Binocular Vision'' was awarded the National Book Critic’s Circle 2011 fiction award at a ceremony on Manhattan Thursday night. Pearlman, a Brookline resident, has long been considered a “writer’s writer,” and her work subsequently suffered from the lack of visibility that often accompanies such a distinction. With the book critics' award – as well as her nomination during the last round of the National Book Awards – Pearlman’s work seems poised to gain a readership that it richly deserves.
Besides Pearlman, other Massachusetts writers took top honors from the book critics' group. The nonfiction award went to Harvard history professor Maya Jasanoff’s "Liberty’s Exiles,'' the story of US-based British sympathizers in the aftermath of the Revolutionary War. And Western Massachusetts resident and children's book author Mira Bartok was honored in the biography category for her memoir "Memory Palace'' about her schizophrenic mother.
The NBCC also bestowed the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award Robert Silvers, founding editor of The New York Review of Books. Globe contributor Kathryn Schulz won the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing.
A complete list of nominees, with the winners in bold, follows.
Teju Cole, "Open City''
Jeffrey Eugenides, "The Marriage Plot''
Alan Hollinghurst, "Stranger’s Child''
Edith Pearlman, "Binocular Vision''
Dana Spiotta, "Stone Arabia''
Amanda Foreman, "A World on Fire''
James Gleick, "The Information''
Adam Hochschild, "To End All Wars''
Maya Jasanoff, "Liberty’s Exiles''
John Jeremiah Sullivan, "Pulphead''
Diana Ackerman, "One Hundred Names for Love''
Mira Bartok, "Memory Palace''
Luis Rodriguez, "It Calls You Back''
Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, "Harlem Is Nowhere''
Deb Olin Unferth, "Revolution''
Mary Gabriel, "Love and Capital''
John Lewis Gaddis, "George F. Kennan''
Paul Hendrickson, "Hemingway’s Boat''
Manning Marable, "Malcolm X''
Ezra Vogel, "Deng Xiaoping''
David Bellos, "Is That a Fish in Your Ear''
Geoff Dyer, "Otherwise Known as the Human Condition''
Jonathan Lethem, "The Ecstasy of Influence''
Dubravka Ugresic, "Karaoke Culture''
Ellen Willis, "Out of the Vinyl Deeps''
Forrest Gander, "Core Samples''
Aracelis Girmay, "Kingdom Animalia''
Laura Kasischke, "Space, In Chains''
Yusef Komunyakaa, "The Chameleon Couch''
Bruce Smith, "Devotions''