'Evocative . . . poignant . . . acute and funny' Observer
'The Revival of the Great Lucia Berlin Continues Apace' New York Times
Best known for her short fiction, it was upon publication of A Manual for Cleaning Women in 2015 that Lucia Berlin’s status as a great American writer was widely celebrated. To populate her stories – the places, relationships, the sentiments – Berlin often drew on her own rich, itinerant life.
Before Berlin died, she was working on a book of previously unpublished autobiographical sketches called Welcome Home. The work consisted of more than twenty chapters that started in 1936 in Alaska and ended (prematurely) in 1966 in southern Mexico. In our publication of Welcome Home, her son Jeff Berlin is filling in the gaps with photos and letters from her eventful, romantic, and tragic life.
From Alaska to Argentina, Kentucky to Mexico, New York City to Chile, Berlin’s world was wide. And the writing here is, as we’ve come to expect, dazzling. She describes the places she lived and the people she knew with all the style and wit and heart and humour that readers fell in love with in her stories.
A beauty inside and out.
Chris Power, author of Mothers
A jigsaw-puzzle portrait of a long-neglected literary legend, baring the autobiographical material that filtered so forcefully into her fiction. The mystery of her fiction is not, it turns out, in the source of its inspiration. It is in how Berlin transformed her life into art that is as vital as the thing itself.
Welcome Home comes sadly in fragments only . . . But everything that elevates her short fiction to the peaks of greatness is evident too in the pages documenting her peripatetic early life and her many trials. Her sentences have a smokiness and sad glamour to them; she evokes the many places of her life so memorably, so bluesily.
Kevin Barry, Irish Times