Pearlman put How to Fall to the "Page 99 Test" and reported the following:
Page 99 of my latest collection, HowTo Fall, takes place in the town of Godolphin. Godolphin, though geographically a wedge of Boston, is self-governing – by a representative Town Meeting whose members scream at each other for several evenings every October. Bow-fronted apartment buildings line Jefferson Boulevard; trolley tracks run down its middle like a zipper. In the town live ancient Yankees, prosperous Jews, envious academics; shopkeepers selling camisoles, chocolates, and scrimshaw; secretaries and music teachers; Asian-Americans, Irish-Americans, and Russian-Americans forever quoting War and Peace. A few inhabitants sleep in alleys. Godolphinites exhibit every sexual preference including the preference to be left alone.Visit Edith Pearlman's official website.
Godolphin is my domain. I invented it – or, at least, adapted it. I populate it. I run it, I worry about it, and I write about it. A writer who uses the same setting and a familiar troupe of supporting characters can be said to be constructing a continuing saga, a human comedy. More modestly – more truthfully – she is simplifying her milieu, making it flexible, ready for any tale she wants to set there.
Godolphin is not microcosmic or generic. It is particular and peculiar. I cannot bring tanks onto Jefferson Boulevard, or make the public golf course the site of a fair where a man gets drunk enough to sell his wife. But crime can find its way to the town’s leafy streets, as can a measure of magic, and lust and death and accident and sin. For glitz, high culture, and drugged misery, I can send my characters to the city nearby.
It is a pleasure, this work – the work of trying to render a detailed, physical, immediate town which develops further in every new story. Each small neighborhood within Godolphin is home to somebody or other; each street-corner is someone’s hang-out. Hanging out with my characters, I am unlikely to slip into preachy abstractions or indulge in high-brow theories. But if I do get smug or careless, the citizens of Godolphin will no doubt run me out of town and hire themselves a new chronicler.