A Manual for Cleaning Women

A Manual for Cleaning Women

Selected Stories

By Lucia Berlin; Stephen Emerson (Editor); Lydia Davis (Foreword by)

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Hardcover, 9780374202392, 432pp.

Publication Date: August 18, 2015

Description

One of "The" "New York Times Book Review"'s Ten Best Books of 2015

"I have always had faith that the best writers will rise to the top, like cream, sooner or later, and will become exactly as well-known as they should be-their work talked about, quoted, taught, performed, filmed, set to music, anthologized. Perhaps, with the present collection, Lucia Berlin will begin to gain the attention she deserves." -Lydia Davis

A MANUAL FOR CLEANING WOMEN compiles the best work of the legendary short-story writer Lucia Berlin. With the grit of Raymond Carver, the humor of Grace Paley, and a blend of wit and melancholy all her own, Berlin crafts miracles from the everyday, uncovering moments of grace in the Laundromats and halfway houses of the American Southwest, in the homes of the Bay Area upper class, among switchboard operators and struggling mothers, hitchhikers and bad Christians.

Readers will revel in this remarkable collection from a master of the form and wonder how they'd ever overlooked her in the first place.



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 later 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 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.



Lydia Davis was awarded the 2003 French-American Foundation Translation Prize for her translation of Marcel Proust's Swann's Way and was named a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Government for her fiction and her translations of such modern writers as Maurice Blanchot and Michel Leiris. She is the author of one novel, The End of the Story, and several volumes of stories, including Varieties of Disturbance, a National Book Award Finalist, and Can't and Won't, a New York Times bestseller. In 2009 her stories were brought together in one volume, The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis, which was called "a grand cumulative achievement" and "one of the great, strange American literary contributions" by James Wood in The New Yorker and "one of the great books in recent literature" by Dan Chiasson in The New York Review of Books. A MacArthur Fellow, Davis lives near Albany, New York.


NPR
Monday, Aug 24, 2015

A posthumously published collection of stories steers recognition to Lucia Berlin, whose fictional narrators are the sort who have seen it all and aren't afraid to tell you about their crappy day. More at NPR.org

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