Evening in Paradise…
About the Book:
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 the remaining Berlin stories – a jewel box follow-up for Lucia Berlin’s hungry fans.
I had never actually heard of Lucia Berlin prior to receiving this collection of short stories. Her short bio indicates that she led a colourful life and the stories included in this collection are reminiscent of the experiences indicated in her bio. Her style is rather conversational, witty and desperately honest, sometimes painfully so. Not all of the stories were to my taste, some were a little difficult to follow, almost rambling. Others were perfection, a little slice of somebody’s life you were invited to bear witness to. Many of the characters popped up in multiple stories, but at different stages of their life than when you had previously encountered them. It was interesting to see them within a different context, also from a different perspective. I can’t help but think that some of these stories are autobiographical, with the recurring themes and characters. For someone who generally doesn’t enjoy short stories, I found this collection to be very engaging.
Thanks is extended to Pan Macmillan Australia for providing me with a copy of Evening in Paradise for review.
About the Author:
Lucia Berlin (1936-2004) worked brilliantly but sporadically throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Her stories are inspired by 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 held to support her writing and her four sons. Sober and writing steadily by the 1990s, she took a visiting writer’s post at the University of Colorado in Boulder in 1994 and was soon promoted to associate professor. In 2001, in failing health, she moved to Southern California to be near her sons. She died in 2004 in Marina del Rey. A collection of her stories, A Manual for Cleaning Women, was published to great acclaim in 2015.
Evening in Paradise
Published by Pan Macmillan Australia
Released on 30th October 2018