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A Handful of Pearls & Other Stories Paperback – July 1, 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Lethe Press (July 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590210107
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590210109
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,411,719 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This anthology reprints nine fantasy, SF, and horror stories originally published from 2001 to 2008, including tales geared towards the gay/lesbian and erotica markets. Bernobich's best work centers on luminous hope emanating from wrenching despair: in "Chrysalide," a poor artist who takes something from each subject paints an extraordinary woman who may save her; in "Remembrance," a couple exchanges letters by recording sensation, only emphasizing the grief when one dies; and in "Jump to Zion," a slave is devastated when her master sells away her daughter, prompting her to take action. Standouts include "Poison," with gender-switching downtrodden aliens, and the title story, featuring a horrifyingly unsympathetic protagonist, both stories with extraordinary, evocative settings. Bernobich's lush prose focuses on scent, touch, and word building, and despite a few flat endings and loose narrative threads, it's clear she's a writer to watch.
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From Booklist

In this collection of short stories, veteran sf author Bernobich delivers nine imaginative tales. “Chrysalide” presents painter Claudette Theron, whose inherited talent from her father helps her provide for her mother and her son, and her own portraitist's psychic gift takes her to a studio in the king's palace. From her balcony, servants “clothed in black, scattered onto the grassy clearing like inky blots against the brilliant green,” bringing the young duchess whose likeness she will brilliantly capture and whose soul she will dim in this brooding story of convoluted genius. “Medusa in the Morning,” another moody, sensual story, finds Medusa sipping coffee on the rocks surrounding her ocean-view cottage; when, in her new, lonely freedom from a man, she tosses her hair loose of its knot, she leaves those untethered snakes equally free to stir. In the title story, an expedition to remote islands puts a microbiologist with a wounded heart on a collision course with himself. These vivid tales can't be pigeonholed or labeled, comprising an oddly exceptional read. --Whitney Scott

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By "Seregil of Rhiminee" on June 21, 2011
Format: Paperback
I was interested in reading A Handful of Pearls & Other Stories, because I read earlier Beth Bernobich's fantastic novella Ars Memoriae. I hoped this collection would be good and it was - when I began to read this collection I immediately liked it.

A Handful of Pearls & Other Stories is a good and versatile short story collection, which contains different kind of stories (the stories range from fantasy to science fiction). Some of the stories are better than others, but all stories are fresh and interesting and they will easily capture the reader's heart. These vibrant and beautifully crafted stories are surpringly original and they contain several adult themes. I think it's great that Beth Bernobich writes fluently about feelings, desire and sexuality. I was impressed with these stories, because they showed great creativeness.

A Handful of Pearls & Other Stories contains an introduction by James Patrick Kelly and the following stories:
- Chrysalide
- Poison
- Remembrance
- Marsdog
- A Handful of Pearls
- Watercolors in the Rain
- Medusa at Morning
- Jump to Zion
- Air and Angels

My favourite story was "Marsdog". It was a touching and compelling story about a different kind of first contact. In my opinion this story is a fine example of the author's amazing imagination. The main character of "Marsdog" isn't human, but he could be human. He's different from humans, but the reader can easily relate to his feelings, which is nice.

I also liked "Poison" and "Remembrance", because the author wrote boldly about feelings and different forms of sexuality.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jarla Tangh on August 30, 2010
Format: Paperback
A Handful of Pearls
Beth Bernobich
Lethe Press

'Lo Peoples,

I am rather fond of short story collections. So it was no struggle at all to read Beth Bernobich's A Handful of Pearls. I finished it in two sittings which is one of the wondrous things about short stories. For a reader with plenty of time, there is the fun of plunging into a fully-formed world, and then coaxing oneself onwards for a few pages more until one has missed one's bus stop, or the phone rings, or one can't keep one's eyes open any longer.

First, as a writer I must appreciate James Patrick's Kelly's Preface. He makes some observations about the themes Bernobich deals with in her work, namely, secrecy. He has "called it" as some Black people say in urban circles, so I almost have nothing to add there.

I will turn my attention to what I felt were the strongest of the nine stories. Five times, I found myself swept past my critical purview and delivered straight to the land of emotion. And that is simply what memorable stories do. They drop you somewhere and the rest of the world vanishes save for what comes next upon the page. Poison, Remembrance, Marsdog, the title story, A Handful of Pearls, and Jump to Zion paraded characters struggling with the weight of their desires. Daksa, a true hermaphrodite, and Kate, a soon-to-be grieving lover, could have been crushed by theirs but find new beginnings. Jimmy AKA Danu-vil-fa (the Talëdi spiderchild) starts with one desire and ends with another desire he had not given much thought to. Yan Dei moves from desire to desire to desire in his relentlessly self-absorbed manner.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Nathan on August 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
In A Handful of Pearls & Other Stories we are treated to nine stories -- eight reprints, originally published between 2001 and 2008, and one story original to this volume -- from the pen of talented new fantasy writer Beth Bernobich. Her stories are, for the most part, lovely and exquisite creations dealing with themes of love and loss, of the connections that make us human and the choices that reveal us to be (only) human. Bernobich is a passionate, sensual writer -- this book is more sensually evocative than any other I've read in some time, which helps both to keep the fantasies grounded and to set them aloft -- whose stories read like colorful prose paintings that at their best are as ravishing as they are painful.

Of the nine stories collected in this book, two of them, "Watercolors in the Rain" and "Marsdog", take familiar stories and repackage them in new settings and to new purposes. The former is quite good; the latter, to my taste, is a bit too precious and familiar to work. The other seven stories are all very original. Two of them, "Poison" and "A Handful of Pearls", are set in the same world, although they share no characters or settings; given that they are two of the most powerful stories in the book, I would love to see more stories set in this world. While I enjoyed every story (with the partial exception of "Marsdog"), I found that the best stories are weighted toward the front of the book, meaning that for readers like me who read collections front to back, the book may make for a slightly unbalanced reading experience, starting on a stronger note than that on which it ends.
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