Evening in Paradise

Lucia Berlin

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01 November 2018
0 pages

The publication of A Manual for Cleaning Women, Lucia Berlin’s dazzling collection of short stories, marked the rediscovery of a writer whose talent had gone unremarked by many. The incredible reaction to Lucia’s writing – her ability to capture the beauty and ugliness that coexist in everyday lives, the extraordinary honesty and magnetism with which she draws on her own history to breathe life into her characters – included calls for her contribution to American literature to be as celebrated as that of Raymond Carver.

Ranging from Texas, to Chile, to New Mexico and New York, in this collection Berlin writes about the good, the bad and everything in between: struggling young mothers, husbands who pack their bags and leave in the middle of the night, wives looking back at their first marriage from the distance of their second . . . Evening in Paradise is a careful selection from Lucia Berlin's remaining stories – a jewel box follow-up for her hungry fans.

Blessedly, a second volume with 22 more stories is in no way second rate but rather features more seductive, sparkling autofiction with narrators whose names echo the author's in settings and situations that come from her roller-coaster biography . . . No dead author is more alive on the page than Berlin: funny, dark, and so in love with the world.

Kirkus (starred review)

A fearless storyteller . . . [Berlin's] work is testimony to a kaleidoscopic life that would scare the sh*t out of most writers alive today. I adore her.

Eli Goldstone, author of Strange Heart Beating

A Manual for Cleaning Women deserves all of the posthumous praise its author has received . . . [Berlin's] work is being compared to Raymond Carver . . . But only Carver’s very final stories share Berlin’s eye for the sudden exaltation in ordinary lives.

Sarah Churchwell on A Manual for Cleaning Women, ‘Best Books of 2015’ - Guardian