Lucia Berlin (1936-2004) worked brilliantly but sporadically throughout the 1960s, '70s and '80s. Her stories are culled from her early childhood in various Western mining towns; her glamorous teenage years in Santiago, Chile; three failed marriages; a lifelong problem with alcoholism; her years spent in Berkeley, New Mexico, and Mexico City; and the various jobs she later held to support her writing and her four sons, including as a high-school teacher, a switchboard operator, a physician's assistant, and a cleaning woman. She published several short story collections including Angels Laundromat and Homesick, and several of her previously published stories are collected together in New York Times Bestseller, A Manual For Cleaning Women.
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The stories in A Manual for Cleaning Women make for one of the most remarkable unsung collections in twentieth-century American fiction. Stephen Emerson, its editor, talks about the emotional depth and liveliness of Lucia Berlin's writing.
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Book designer Justine Anweiler on how the cover for A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin came about.
The state of the short story has been much-debated recently. The form is having a come back, say some; short story writers still feel in the shadow of novelists, say others; aren't novels just long stories anyway, so why do we pit them against each other? say others again. The debate is as al...