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The chance to join 'the Revival of the Great Lucia Berlin' (New York Times)
From the author of A Manual for Cleaning Women.
Ranging from Texas, to Chile, to New Mexico and New York, in Evening in Paradise 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 . . .
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.
Evening in Paradise is a careful selection from Lucia Berlin’s remaining stories – a jewel-box follow-up for her hungry fans.
This wonderful posthumous collection from Berlin (A Manual for Cleaning Women) ranges from short, one-page stories about the poor and working class to longer romantic tales about the disaffected daughters of aristocrats in South America. The collection is significant partly because it reveals the centrality of homesickness and geography to Berlin's work. The elegant title story is set in a hotel in Mexico where the cast and crew of The Night of the Iguana are staying. The American movie stars living in "paradise" at the resort are worn out and distracted compared to the vibrant Mexicans who run the hotel. "Lead Street, Albuquerque" follows two young couples whose lives are interrupted when a friend moves into their building and marries a 17-year-old girl. The friend, who becomes a wildly successful artist, leaves his young wife in the care of the other women, who help her care for her baby. One of the longest stories in the collection is "Andado: A Gothic Romance," which follows Laura, a 14-year-old schoolgirl in Chile, as she visits the estate of wealthy widower Don Andres. The sexual tension between the older man and the younger girl escalates and eventually confuses the girl's innocent notions of romance. Berlin's writing achieves a dreamy, delightful effect as it provides a look back through time. This collection should further bolster Berlin's reputation as one of the strongest short story writers of the 20th century.