Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Ann Pearlman

Ann Pearlman is a writer of both fiction, and non-fiction books and has been passionate about writing since eighth grade. Getting Free: Women and Psychotherapy was written with two colleagues and used as both a consciousness-raising book in the woman’s movement as well as college textbook.  Keep the Home Fires Burning: How to Have an Affair With Your Spouse, garnered the attention of the Oprah Winfrey Show and many other TV talk shows. Her memoir, Infidelity, was nominated for National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize, and made into a Lifetime movie by Lionsgate. Inside the Crips, with a foreword by Ice T, took readers into the life of a Crip gang member and the California Prison system. The Christmas Cookie Club became an international bestseller, spawning cookie exchanges and donations to charity.

Her new novel is A Gift for My Sister.

Recently I asked Pearlman what she was reading.  Her reply:
I’m a promiscuous reader, enjoying non-fiction and fiction in all genres. Recently, at the behest of my daughter, I read Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games trilogy, and was enveloped by the page turning plot, the heroine’s personality, and the description of the dismal world of the future. Each chapter (and indeed each book) ended with a cliffhanger, which induced me (an easily led reader) to read on, spending hours entertained.

Several months ago, I read David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas. Yes, I was entertained, each of the six entwined stories in the novel are riveting. But more than that, his brilliant language and encompassing knowledge, his ability to change voice into six different personas, and the overarching themes zipping through centuries of humanity stay with me. The translit novel allows the writer to explore flashbacks as well as foretell consequences centuries and continents distant. And it provides a profound and fascinating way to explore overarching themes.

As I write this, I realize these two books have several things in common. Both writers love their characters and thus wrote fully rounded people who do surprising things. They both focus on the effects of the will to power with the resulting oppression and malevolence of one group over another. As Mitchell says, the warning implicit in both plots is: In an individual selfishness uglifies the soul; for the human species, selfishness is extinction.
Visit Ann Pearlman's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: A Gift for My Sister.

--Marshal Zeringue