A Manual for Cleaning Women

Selected Stories

4.17 based on 6327 ratings & 1093 reviews on Goodreads.com
Picador

Publication date: 08.10.2015
ISBN: 9781447294900
Number of pages: 0

Synopsis

The New York Times bestseller

'This selection of 43 stories should by all rights see Lucia Berlin as lauded as Jean Rhys or Raymond Carver' Independent

The stories in A Manual for Cleaning Women make for one of the most remarkable unsung collections in twentieth-century American fiction.

With extraordinary honesty and magnetism, Lucia Berlin invites us into her rich, itinerant life: the drink and the mess and the pain and the beauty and the moments of surprise and of grace. Her voice is uniquely witty, anarchic and compassionate. Celebrated for many years by those in the know, she is about to become - a decade after her death - the writer everyone is talking about. The collection will be introduced by Lydia Davis.

'With Lucia Berlin we are very far away from the parlours of Boston and New York and quite far away, too, from the fiction of manners, unless we are speaking of very bad manners . . . The writer Lucia Berlin most puts me in mind of is the late Richard Yates.' LRB, 1999

In the media

Lucia Berlin has long been overlooked as one of America's best short story writers, and it only takes readers the first couple of pages to recognize that . . . Reminiscent of Raymond Carver with a dash of survivor's humor, which makes even the bleakest tales thoroughly enjoyable.
Nylon
Berlin's tales of addiction and violence, formally unpredictable and drolly grotesque, defy our expectations for working-class fiction . . . If you aren't familiar with Berlin, now's the time to get acquainted . . . A Manual for Cleaning Women brings together 43 of the unconventional, unnerving stories Berlin wrote over the course of thirty years . . . offer[ing] unusually detailed portraits of working-class lives . . . Allusive and lyrical, her writing looks more modernist than minimalist . . . [Berlin] didn't generalize or ironize working-class experience; she instead presented her neighbors in all their compelling specificity . . . What this writing affirms is the beautiful, broken human body as well as Berlin's rightful place in the canon of American short fiction.
New Republic
Full of humor and tenderness and emphatic grace . . . Those not lucky enough to have yet encountered the writing of Lucia Berlin are in for some high-grade pleasure when they make first contact.
Washington Post