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Pearlman, Gaddis win book critics prizes

Pearlman, Gaddis win book critics prizes

March 9th, 2012 by HILLEL ITALIE, AP National Writer in News

NEW YORK (AP) - Short story writer Edith Pearlman has won the National Book Critics Circle award for fiction.

Pearlman was cited Thursday for "Binocular Vision: New and Selected Stories," continuing the run of belated appreciation for an author loved by critics but little known to the general public. Published by Lookout Books, Pearlman's collection was a finalist last fall for the National Book Awards and won the PEN/Malamud prize for outstanding short fiction.

Many of her stories tell of Jewish life after World War II.

"Some refugees from Europe came through my hometown during the war, and I have met others throughout my life, all trying with more or less success to make a home in the New World," Pearlman, who grew up in Providence, R.I., explained during an interview in November. "These people were traumatized by what had happened to their homeland and their co-religionists; yet they managed to be light when they could, and they banished self-pity from their outer life."

Historian John Lewis Gaddis won the biography prize for his epic "George F. Kennan," a fitting match of a top Cold War scholar telling the story of one of the Cold War's founding strategists. Maya Jasanoff's "Liberty's Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary War" was the nonfiction winner, and the poetry award went to Laura Kasischke's "Space, in Chains."

The autobiography prize was given to Mira Bartok for "The Memory Palace: A Memoir," and Geoff Dyer's "Otherwise Known as the Human Condition: Selected Essays and Reviews" won for criticism.

There were no cash awards.

The NBCC also presented two honorary prizes. Robert Silvers, who nearly 50 years ago helped found The New York Review of Books, won the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award. Kathryn Schulz, the book critic for New York magazine, received the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing.