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A collection of previously uncompiled stories from the short-story master and literary sensation Lucia Berlin In 2015, FSG published A Manual for Cleaning Women, a posthumous story collection by a relatively unknown writer, to wild, widespread acclaim. It was a New York Times bestseller; the paper's Book Review named it one of the Ten Best Books of 2015; and NPR, Time, Ent A collection of previously uncompiled stories from the short-story master and literary sensation Lucia Berlin In 2015, FSG published A Manual for Cleaning Women, a posthumous story collection by a relatively unknown writer, to wild, widespread acclaim. It was a New York Times bestseller; the paper's Book Review named it one of the Ten Best Books of 2015; and NPR, Time, Entertainment Weekly, The Guardian, The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and other outlets gave the book rave reviews. Evening in Paradise is a careful selection from the remaining Berlin stories--a jewel box follow-up for Lucia Berlin's hungry fans.


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A collection of previously uncompiled stories from the short-story master and literary sensation Lucia Berlin In 2015, FSG published A Manual for Cleaning Women, a posthumous story collection by a relatively unknown writer, to wild, widespread acclaim. It was a New York Times bestseller; the paper's Book Review named it one of the Ten Best Books of 2015; and NPR, Time, Ent A collection of previously uncompiled stories from the short-story master and literary sensation Lucia Berlin In 2015, FSG published A Manual for Cleaning Women, a posthumous story collection by a relatively unknown writer, to wild, widespread acclaim. It was a New York Times bestseller; the paper's Book Review named it one of the Ten Best Books of 2015; and NPR, Time, Entertainment Weekly, The Guardian, The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and other outlets gave the book rave reviews. Evening in Paradise is a careful selection from the remaining Berlin stories--a jewel box follow-up for Lucia Berlin's hungry fans.

30 review for Evening in Paradise: More Stories

  1. 4 out of 5

    Meike

    Lucia Berlin’s short story collection A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories, published posthumously in 2015, caused quite a stir and turned the author into a worldwide literary sensation. “Evening in Paradise” is the follow-up and offers 22 more stories that often refer to Berlin’s real life: We meet literary doppelgängers of her, her parents, her four kids and her three ex-husbands, and among the recurring themes are alcohol and heroin addiction, relationships gone sour, poverty and dea Lucia Berlin’s short story collection A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories, published posthumously in 2015, caused quite a stir and turned the author into a worldwide literary sensation. “Evening in Paradise” is the follow-up and offers 22 more stories that often refer to Berlin’s real life: We meet literary doppelgängers of her, her parents, her four kids and her three ex-husbands, and among the recurring themes are alcohol and heroin addiction, relationships gone sour, poverty and death. While this might not sound like particularly funny material, it nevertheless is – Berlin’s weapon against life’s hardships is her sense of humor, so we read sentences like: ”It would have been in poor taste for me to tell the girls at school just how many unbelievably handsome men had been at that funeral. I did anyway.” or ”Acceptance is faith, Henry Miller said. I could strangle him, too.” It is this outlook on life, the particular way the characters in the stories deal with their obstacles that makes reading Lucia Berlin so special: The author’s humor and keen ability to capture the essence of a situation let the texts vibrate and flicker, and the effect is sometimes cathartic and sometimes shocking. The stories are put together in roughly chronological order when you consider the themes discussed and how they relate to Berlin’s real life: She was born in 1936, her father worked in the mining industry and the family moved around a lot. When he went to war in 1941, the rest of the family stayed in El Paso with the grandparents – which is where the first story of the collection takes place. Then we follow Berlin’s fictional self to Chile, where she lived as a teenager, we encounter her alcoholic mother and later her artist husbands, one of them a heroin addict. Some names are changing, some do remain the same, but the main themes are present throughout the whole book. Not all of the stories did convince me entirely, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading this collection and I wish the author would have been able to enjoy this degree of success during her lifetime.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kasa Cotugno

    Three years ago, I was blown away by A Manual for Cleaning Women, a compilation of stories by Lucia Berlin, gathered by her publishers and friends ten years after her death. I mentioned at the time that I felt a short story collection in which every story is good presents a challenge to a reader that novels do not. Each immersive piece requires more of an effort, whereas once under the spell of a novel, a reader can have a smoother experience. Thus, I was thrilled to be offered an early copy of Three years ago, I was blown away by A Manual for Cleaning Women, a compilation of stories by Lucia Berlin, gathered by her publishers and friends ten years after her death. I mentioned at the time that I felt a short story collection in which every story is good presents a challenge to a reader that novels do not. Each immersive piece requires more of an effort, whereas once under the spell of a novel, a reader can have a smoother experience. Thus, I was thrilled to be offered an early copy of these additional stories, and found them to be every bit as compelling as those in the first collection. In addition, given the skeletal outline of Berlin's life, it is possible to see these as forming a very loose autobiography. There are no dates at least on the galleys, but no matter in which order they were written, as printed, they seem to advance more or less chronologically. Each features a central female figure who becomes a student in Chile, a young woman on her way to University of New Mexico, young wife and mother and the three husbands, then later as a single parent to her sons, and beyond. Many are told in first person, but some are in third, and in at least one case, multiple first person in the same story. The names of these protagonists are all different, but male characters sometimes carry the same name from story to story. When "Cleaning Women" came out, her publisher said he felt that "her time had finally come," that she hadn't received the recognition she deserved while alive because she was ahead of her time. That gives me pause -- good writing has always been acknowledged, and it's a shame she wasn't here to enjoy the accolades she deservedly if belatedly is receiving. Thanks to FSG for this early chance to read and review this outstanding collection.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Fabian

    At the fringes of different worlds... These stories are reports by an inquisitive and magnificently profound voice, from and about PLACES this reviewer himself holds dear, as actual memories. (El Paso, Juarez, Puerto Vallarta, Alburquerque, the D.F., Paris.) Berlin writers about place like no other short story writer (Faulkner, yes)... Hers is the life of a traveler; she is a part of a troupe of artistes. Tales of wives that stand firmly by their eccentric and lost husband-artists are prevalent. At the fringes of different worlds... These stories are reports by an inquisitive and magnificently profound voice, from and about PLACES this reviewer himself holds dear, as actual memories. (El Paso, Juarez, Puerto Vallarta, Alburquerque, the D.F., Paris.) Berlin writers about place like no other short story writer (Faulkner, yes)... Hers is the life of a traveler; she is a part of a troupe of artistes. Tales of wives that stand firmly by their eccentric and lost husband-artists are prevalent. Berlin writes from a place of privilege, albeit torture. But history nods at her place in it: she graces us with captivating times of adult enjoyment. Oh, does she write! Also: cleaning homes as an activity that's as frantic and significant as, say, searching frantically for a lost child. Also: parenting as a theme with no parameters, as ambiguous and miraculous an activity (taking care of progeny and/or neighbor) as life itself. The reader is insistent in figuring out who Lucia Berlin really was. We try to sift through an enigma, for pieces of her underneath each beautiful anecdote. "When you travel you step back from your own days, from the fragmented imperfect linearity of your time. As when reading a novel, the events and people become allegorical and eternal." (232)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Upeita, mustalla huumorilla ja äärimmäisen tarkalla otteella kuvattuja tarinoita alkoholismista, kuoleman sairaista ihmisistä ja elämästä noin ylipäätään. Ensimmäinen osa hurmasi jo vuosi sitten, mutta tämä viimeistään sai rakastumaan täysin. Luin näitä novelleja melkein kaksi kuukautta, koska halusin säästellä kirjaa mahdollisimman pitkälle, mutta nyt todennäköisesti tulen kuitenkin lukemaan kummankin osan lempitarinoitani yhä uudelleen ja uudelleen. Ei nämä siis loppumaan pääse, vaikka kokonaa Upeita, mustalla huumorilla ja äärimmäisen tarkalla otteella kuvattuja tarinoita alkoholismista, kuoleman sairaista ihmisistä ja elämästä noin ylipäätään. Ensimmäinen osa hurmasi jo vuosi sitten, mutta tämä viimeistään sai rakastumaan täysin. Luin näitä novelleja melkein kaksi kuukautta, koska halusin säästellä kirjaa mahdollisimman pitkälle, mutta nyt todennäköisesti tulen kuitenkin lukemaan kummankin osan lempitarinoitani yhä uudelleen ja uudelleen. Ei nämä siis loppumaan pääse, vaikka kokonaan onkin nyt viimein luettu.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lolly K Dandeneau

    Via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/ 'Missed moments. One word, one gesture, can change your entire life, can break everything or make it whole.' I have been wanting to read A Manual for Cleaning Women for a long time, having read glowing reviews so when I saw this one up for grabs I tucked in and wasn’t disappointed. Reading that many stories were based on her real life made them all the more satisfying. I was tickled by Tiny on the roof in the story Noel. Texas.1956. Spending her Via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/ 'Missed moments. One word, one gesture, can change your entire life, can break everything or make it whole.' I have been wanting to read A Manual for Cleaning Women for a long time, having read glowing reviews so when I saw this one up for grabs I tucked in and wasn’t disappointed. Reading that many stories were based on her real life made them all the more satisfying. I was tickled by Tiny on the roof in the story Noel. Texas.1956. Spending her time overhearing her family, not quite feeling the Christmas spirit for her relatives, the very ones she did her best to escape, I couldn’t help but picture it all in my head. Then the generous toy delivery by airplane that goes all wrong and all I can think is, “life, isn’t that just the way things always are?” Drug addiction that is both haunting and common in love, family haunts much of the collection. Laughing that two women give a man both the ‘best’ and ‘worst’ years of their lives, coming together in misery and yet somehow stronger women, wiser women for it all. How can a man who is a complete addict be the sort that all those who follow cannot measure up to? Life is mystery! One husband’s drug habit that takes a shocking violent turn for the wife who has no choice but to take care of things, cover something up and yet the next day is just another ordinary collection of days to come. Somehow these stories are both terribly sad, shocking and funny. It echoes many lives, there is one story where a little boy goes missing and it reminded me of something my own son did when he was with my mother and aunt. It doesn’t always work when authors play with the ‘truth’ of their own lives, creating fiction out of fact, but in the end everything we knew, experienced, are just stories with a million perspectives. If you think about it, no one ever tells them same story anyway, and that makes us all fascinating in what we chose to remember. That makes some people uncomfortable, the fluidity of truth but it’s necessary for fiction, I think. I love reading stories about youth too, as we grow older we forget the bonds we shared with others. How fierce we were about loyalty and friendship. ‘When we got off the bus at the plaza, Hope repeated that she’d kill me if I ever spoke to Sammy again. “Never. Want blood?” We were always cutting our wrists and sealing promises.’ It could be the 1940s, the 1970s… human nature doesn’t change that much really. People fall in and out of love, grow and weed out friendships, raise children beautifully and terribly and the world spins on… In each person there are many lives all full of beginnings and endings, tracks jumped when marriages dissipate or children are born. I loved The Adobe House With A Tin Roof because of the characters, nothing wild has to happen, it’s a quiet story but the plants, all the plants and her rowdy neighbor whom Maya both hates and adores (even if she doesn’t know it) made me feel I was there. One that stayed with me, Our Brother’s Keeper not just for the death of Sarah but more due to the flaw that so many women (especially those old enough to know better) chose to forgive because we sometimes want so badly for everything to just be okay. When it’s good, it’s good, right? Shouldn’t that be enough? Well, no… We may get bitter with age, because of what life does to us but deep down there is still that longing of a young girl’s heart. I can’t compare her prior work, her audience was small while she was alive and has since grown after her death. Lucia Berlin was born in November of 1936 in Juneau, Alaska and died in 2005. Evening in Paradise is a follow-up collection of her remaining stories, and I genuinely enjoyed them all. Maybe my pleasure is in part my being a fellow November baby, always a little dark humored, easily finding things to laugh about even in the roughest of life’s moments, I can relate. Fitting that the stories will be released in November. Publication Date: November 6, 2018 Farrar, Straus and Giroux

  6. 5 out of 5

    Gretavonpanzer

    4.5

  7. 4 out of 5

    Stef Smulders

    A very mixed bag. Some very good stories but also quite a few bad ones, not fit to have been published imho. Not a very careful selection at all!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Simone Subliminalpop

    I carillon ★★★★★ Momenti d'estate ★★★ Andando. Romanzo gotico ★★★ Polvere alla polvere ★★★ Itinerario ★★★★★ Lead Street, Albuquerque ★★★★ Noël, Texas 1956 ★★★★★ Una casa di argilla con il tetto di lamiera ★★★★★ Una giornata nebbiosa ★★★★ Il tempo della fioritura dei ciliegi ★★★★ Una sera in paradiso ★★★★★ La barca de la Ilusión ★★★ La mia vita è un libro aperto ★★★★★ Le mogli ★★★★★ Noël, 1974 ★★★ Il Pony Bar, Oakland ★ Figlie ★★ Giornata piovosa ★ Il guardiano di nostro fratello ★★★ Perdersi al Louvre ★★ Sombra ★★★ I carillon ★★★★★ Momenti d'estate ★★★ Andando. Romanzo gotico ★★★ Polvere alla polvere ★★★ Itinerario ★★★★★ Lead Street, Albuquerque ★★★★ Noël, Texas 1956 ★★★★★ Una casa di argilla con il tetto di lamiera ★★★★★ Una giornata nebbiosa ★★★★ Il tempo della fioritura dei ciliegi ★★★★ Una sera in paradiso ★★★★★ La barca de la Ilusión ★★★ La mia vita è un libro aperto ★★★★★ Le mogli ★★★★★ Noël, 1974 ★★★ Il Pony Bar, Oakland ★ Figlie ★★ Giornata piovosa ★ Il guardiano di nostro fratello ★★★ Perdersi al Louvre ★★ Sombra ★★★ Luna nueva ★★

  9. 4 out of 5

    Spiros

    I approached this collection with some trepidation, fearing that these were just the table scraps left behind when the stunning A Manual for Cleaning Women was assembled. Reading the first story, "The Musical Vanity Boxes", quickly disabused me of that fear: the stories in this shorter collection are all of a quality which would have allowed any of them to have been collected in the previous volume. Once again, almost all of the stories are refractions of the author's own life, with the names o I approached this collection with some trepidation, fearing that these were just the table scraps left behind when the stunning A Manual for Cleaning Women was assembled. Reading the first story, "The Musical Vanity Boxes", quickly disabused me of that fear: the stories in this shorter collection are all of a quality which would have allowed any of them to have been collected in the previous volume. Once again, almost all of the stories are refractions of the author's own life, with the names of the protagonist, her four sons, and her three husbands being rotated from story to story. A couple of the stories are pure invention, most notably the title story, set in a hotel in Puerto Vallarta during the filming of "Night of the Iguana" at Mismaloya, and featuring cameos by John Huston, Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, and most memorably Ava Gardner, and which is epic.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Theresa Smith Writes

    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 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.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mai Laakso

    Lucia Berlinin (1936-2004) toinen osa Siivoojan käsikirja-novellikirjoista on nimeltään Tanssia ruusuilla ja muita kertomuksia. Kirja alkaa nimikkonovellista, jossa on kaksi nuorta tyttöä, jotka ovat toisen tytön isän seurassa lomailemassa hotellissa. Tytöt ovat siinä iässä, että nuorten miesten seura kiinnostaa heitä. Sopivasti hotellille ilmestyykin pari nuorta miestä ja iltojen ohjelma on sitä myöten selvä. Tietysti se kaikki pitää salata Gerdan isältä. Tanssia ruusuilla ja muita kertomuksia Lucia Berlinin (1936-2004) toinen osa Siivoojan käsikirja-novellikirjoista on nimeltään Tanssia ruusuilla ja muita kertomuksia. Kirja alkaa nimikkonovellista, jossa on kaksi nuorta tyttöä, jotka ovat toisen tytön isän seurassa lomailemassa hotellissa. Tytöt ovat siinä iässä, että nuorten miesten seura kiinnostaa heitä. Sopivasti hotellille ilmestyykin pari nuorta miestä ja iltojen ohjelma on sitä myöten selvä. Tietysti se kaikki pitää salata Gerdan isältä. Tanssia ruusuilla ja muita kertomuksia sisältää 18 novellia. Kirjailija on ammentanut autofiktiivistä tekstiä novelleihinsa, sillä hänen elämässään riitti tapahtumia rikkaudesta köyhyyteen, useampi aviomies ja neljä poikaa, joiden yksinhuoltajana hän yritti sinnitellä välillä siivoojana. Jostakin piti saada rahaa ruokaan, laskuihin ja niin viinaan, sillä kirjailija oli alkoholisti. Alkoholi näkyy kirjan novelleissa humalahakuisuutena ja alkoholin läträämisenä joka tilanteessa. Yksi kirjailijan aviomiehistä oli päihderiippuvainen ja muitakin liikakäyttäjiä suvusta löytyi. Kirjailija ei ujostellut kirjoittaa riippuvuuksista eikä omista ongelmistaan, vaan hän höysti tarinoita mustalla huumorilla.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Latkins

    I really enjoyed A Manual For Cleaning Women, the book of selected short stories by the late Lucia Berlin, and I also enjoyed this follow-up of more stories. The tales are arranged in a kind of chronological order of Berlin's life (helped by a mini-biography at the end of the book), as, although fiction, most of the stories are clearly based on her own experiences. Ranging from El Paso to Chile, to New York, Paris, California and Mexico, from the 1940s to the early 21tst century, these stories p I really enjoyed A Manual For Cleaning Women, the book of selected short stories by the late Lucia Berlin, and I also enjoyed this follow-up of more stories. The tales are arranged in a kind of chronological order of Berlin's life (helped by a mini-biography at the end of the book), as, although fiction, most of the stories are clearly based on her own experiences. Ranging from El Paso to Chile, to New York, Paris, California and Mexico, from the 1940s to the early 21tst century, these stories provide an insight into Berlin's life. As with all fiction based on reality, you wonder which bits are made up and which are true, but it doesn't really matter as the quality of the writing draws you into each of the different worlds they portray - from selling lottery 'chances' with her Syrian friend as a child in 1940s El Paso, to living with her heroin addict husband and three young children in 1960s Mexico, to working as teacher and raising four sons as a single mother, whilst battling alcoholism, in 1970s California. There is plenty of dry humour and pathos along the way.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mikko Saari

    Hienohan tämä oli, siinä missä se ensimmäinenkin kokoelma. Hyvin samantyyppisiä kertomuksia, mutta ei kai se ihmekään ole, kun hyvin pitkälti kirjailijan oman elämän ympärillä pyöritään aiheiden suhteen – lukija voi arvailla, minkä verran nämä ovat oikeita tapahtumia ja minkä verran keksittyjä juttuja, vaan tietäisikö kirjailijakaan enää. Hyvin kirjoitettuja juttuja, kiinnostavia näkökulmia, mielenkiintoisia henkilöitä. Erinomaista novellitaidetta.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Elina Mäntylammi

    Säkenöiviä, särmikkäitä, hauskoja ja koakettavia novelleja. Lucia Berlin on mestarillinen kertoja, jonka tarinat saavat sykkeen mukavasti koholle. Tanssia ruusuilla ja muita kertomuksia sai itkemään ja nauramaan. Niin taidokkaasti Berlin kertoo, että näen hahmot elävinä edessäni. Vaikuttavaa, riemastuttavaa kirjallisuutta.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Shawn

    This collection adds to the body of evidence that Ms. Berlin was an incredibly gifted writer, storyteller. From her sons’ descriptions of her, it would appear that her life mirrored a lot of the pain found in her stories — or vice versa. Worth reading. Some are worth rereading. Certainly worth recommending.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Anna Holopainen

    En ole varmaan koskaan lukenut mitään ihan vastaavaa kuin Berlinin novellit! Mielettömiä kaikessa arkisuudessaan elämänmakuisia novelleja, jotka kaipaavat ja kestävät monta lukukertaa. Vaikea melkein uskoa, mutta tämä oli vieläkin parempi kuin Siivoojan käsikirja.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Riikka Koo

    En ihan täysin syttynyt ensimmäiselle käsikirjalle, mutta tämä oli jotenkin valtavan ihana. Karuudessaan ja surussaan ehkä kuitenkin ensimmäistä lempeämpi. Sieluunkäypä.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Eleanor

    Berlin's earlier collection, A Manual For Cleaning Women, is the book that changed my mind about short stories. She uses the raw material of her own life--alcoholism, young sons, constant moving, the American West and Southwest--in stories that constantly circle around similar themes and characters. They are written in startlingly lucid yet straightforward prose, vivid with imagery, often illuminated by a single unexpected word or phrase. Evening in Paradise is the second collection of her work Berlin's earlier collection, A Manual For Cleaning Women, is the book that changed my mind about short stories. She uses the raw material of her own life--alcoholism, young sons, constant moving, the American West and Southwest--in stories that constantly circle around similar themes and characters. They are written in startlingly lucid yet straightforward prose, vivid with imagery, often illuminated by a single unexpected word or phrase. Evening in Paradise is the second collection of her work to be published after her death, and it isn't, by any means, a collection of the second-best; it's superb. The first two stories, told through the eyes of a child, engaged me the least, but starting from "Andado" (subtitled A Gothic Romance), Berlin's voice becomes the voice that enchanted throughout A Manual For Cleaning Women. "Andado" features Laura's, daughter of an American businessman in Chile, being used as a sexual pawn to advance her father's career; a country weekend with a much older man leads to the loss of her virginity (she's perhaps fourteen), which she takes in her stride, although the reader can see the grooming and calculation behind the seductive gestures. From then on, the stories focus on women who share some aspects of Laura's background and differ in other ways; they explore sexuality, marriage, the bohemian life, poverty, whether making good art requires you to lead a cruel life. Berlin is simply brilliant; her memoir, Welcome Home, is out next year and I'll be reading it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Brita

    I read A Manual for Cleaning Women in February 2016. I remember feeling completely immersed in it, and thinking it lived up to the significant hype it received upon publication. I was less enthralled by this collection, but that may have been circumstantial (I read it while traveling). Although the stories are short - some extremely so - they would benefit from a more sustained quality of attention than I gave them.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Corny

    This group of stories reflects the peripatetic nature of the author's life. She writes about her childhood in El Paso, her teenage years in Santiago and her early married years in New Mexico. Later stories are set in various parts of Mexico and the Southwest US as well as NYC and San Francisco and even Paris. What to say about this random collection? Many of them involve women, most well-educated, who have been trapped in some way, either a loveless marriage or alcoholism or a man with a wanderin This group of stories reflects the peripatetic nature of the author's life. She writes about her childhood in El Paso, her teenage years in Santiago and her early married years in New Mexico. Later stories are set in various parts of Mexico and the Southwest US as well as NYC and San Francisco and even Paris. What to say about this random collection? Many of them involve women, most well-educated, who have been trapped in some way, either a loveless marriage or alcoholism or a man with a wandering eye. Not all the stories work. They are like random parts of a fictional memoir which is partly true as well. Some of them like Noel, 1974, where a divorced teacher with 3 sons entertains her aunt and a whole host of neighbors during the holiday season, are not only entertaining but touching. Many of the stories are like this one, a random glimpse of a woman's life, often laid bare. Sometimes the story can be a paragraph or a few pages or 30 -40 pages but in almost all, we are limited to a small portion of the protagonist's life, maybe a day, a month or at most a few months. The writer's skill is in telling us a lot about someone in a few pages without judgment, just laying out a story and letting the reader judge. Some of these stories don't work for me. Daughters, the story of a dialysis ward Xmas party as seen through the eyes of a nurse, is unbelievably weird. A Rainy Day is one paragraph long and seems pointless. Same for Lost in the Louvre, although its wonderful portrait of Paris makes it worth the read. The author seems to have had an incredibly interesting life and these stories mirror the good and the bad. If we assume, as her son does in the Foreword, that many of the incidents in the stories happened to the author, it is easy to imagine what a rough time she had. A note to the reader: several characters appear more than once in the collection but interestingly, they are often in very different contexts. For example, Ben and Keith, two brothers, appear in three stories and in each one the mother's name is different. Not sure why but then again, I am unable to see the point of several of the stories. I may go back and read Manual for a Cleaning Woman, her first and most famous collection.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I was so delighted that this book and the non-fiction collection of letters was published a bit earlier than expected. Once again, Lucia Berlin's talent is amazingly on display. These are all different stories than "Manual for Cleaning Ladies" but the last two stories are reprinted from "So Long, Stories: 1987-1992". These are "Sombra" and "Luna Nueva". Many are similar to other versions of the same settings that she describes I different ways in both "Manual" and "So Long". What makes them fasc I was so delighted that this book and the non-fiction collection of letters was published a bit earlier than expected. Once again, Lucia Berlin's talent is amazingly on display. These are all different stories than "Manual for Cleaning Ladies" but the last two stories are reprinted from "So Long, Stories: 1987-1992". These are "Sombra" and "Luna Nueva". Many are similar to other versions of the same settings that she describes I different ways in both "Manual" and "So Long". What makes them fascinating is the way she uses the perspective of a different character to give an entirely new but equally good effect. Familiar landmarks appear, and you feel lucky to be included in the world Berlin writes so well about. The book opens with a touching sort of introduction written by one of her four sons. Sadly you learn that what seemed to be an introduction written expressly for the book was written shortly after her death in 2004 but before the early death in 2005 of Mark Berlin. The acknowledgements are written by another son, Jeff Berlin. I'm very sorry that in all likelihood there are no remaining stories by this tremendously talented writer.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Iira

    En tiedä miksi, mutta tämä toinen osa tuntui niin paljon ensimmäistä paremmalta! Ehkä olin jo tottunut suomennoksen lapsenomaiseen tyyliin, tai muuten Berlinin maailma jäi jonnekin mielen perukoille itämään ja tämä lukukokemus sai niistä iduista tuttua vastakaikua. Tai sitten tälle sattui parempi hetki. Tai sitten nämä oli vaan parempia novelleja! Berlinin hahmoilla ei ole helppoa eikä kivaa. Joillakin ei mene ihan päin helvettiä, mutta aika monilla menee. Alkoholistit ja narkomaanit, kuolemansa En tiedä miksi, mutta tämä toinen osa tuntui niin paljon ensimmäistä paremmalta! Ehkä olin jo tottunut suomennoksen lapsenomaiseen tyyliin, tai muuten Berlinin maailma jäi jonnekin mielen perukoille itämään ja tämä lukukokemus sai niistä iduista tuttua vastakaikua. Tai sitten tälle sattui parempi hetki. Tai sitten nämä oli vaan parempia novelleja! Berlinin hahmoilla ei ole helppoa eikä kivaa. Joillakin ei mene ihan päin helvettiä, mutta aika monilla menee. Alkoholistit ja narkomaanit, kuolemansairaat ja teiniäidit, raskaan työn tekijät ja työtä vailla olevat, he ovat inhimillisiä, sympaattisia, ärsyttäviä ja aitoja. Monet heistä muistuttavat kirjailijaa itseään, mutta kukapa tietää miten paljon tarinoissa on totuuden siemeniä. Lue tämä, mutta älä lue säälillä. Lue rakkaudella.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rae

    Evening in Paradise is another wonderful short story collection from the late Lucia Berlin, author of the best-selling Manual for Cleaning Women. Berlin's style is a comforting shorthand, a snapshot of life. She writes about domestic life, addiction, single motherhood, and somehow managed to make grief beautiful and death majestically quiet. I drank in rather than read her words, like a hungry child in a pool of fresh water. I would recommend this collection to anyone who enjoys short stories or Evening in Paradise is another wonderful short story collection from the late Lucia Berlin, author of the best-selling Manual for Cleaning Women. Berlin's style is a comforting shorthand, a snapshot of life. She writes about domestic life, addiction, single motherhood, and somehow managed to make grief beautiful and death majestically quiet. I drank in rather than read her words, like a hungry child in a pool of fresh water. I would recommend this collection to anyone who enjoys short stories or who enjoyed her most recently published collection. My heartfelt thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a free review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Larry Davidson

    A new collection of short stories by the late author. Like the brilliant collection of short stories in “A Manual for Cleaning Women “, this collection is outstanding. There are over 20 short stories and I recommend that the reader read them over a few days in order to appreciate each story. The stories are mostly narrated by women and are focused on relationships. Berlin is especially strong in her ability to describe settings and convey the emotions of her characters. The characters tend to be A new collection of short stories by the late author. Like the brilliant collection of short stories in “A Manual for Cleaning Women “, this collection is outstanding. There are over 20 short stories and I recommend that the reader read them over a few days in order to appreciate each story. The stories are mostly narrated by women and are focused on relationships. Berlin is especially strong in her ability to describe settings and convey the emotions of her characters. The characters tend to be working class individuals and some of them reappear in later stories.

  25. 4 out of 5

    N

    Ei iskenyt niin hyvin kuin se ensimmäinen osa. Tähän vaikuttaa suuresti myös se, että luin tätä lähinnä ennen yöunia tai koulussa keskellä meteliä, enkä päässyt uppoamaan tarinoihin täysillä mukaan. Oma vika siis. Teksti oli edeltäjänsä tapaan yhtä oivaltavaa ja ihanan arkista. Harmittaa, olisi pitänyt keskittyä kunnolla ja ajatella kunnolla. "Kotona isä luki sinulle ääneen, kunnes sinä nukahdit. Jos tarina oli oikein hyvä, sinä itkit - et siksi, että se olisi ollut surullinen, vaan koska se oli Ei iskenyt niin hyvin kuin se ensimmäinen osa. Tähän vaikuttaa suuresti myös se, että luin tätä lähinnä ennen yöunia tai koulussa keskellä meteliä, enkä päässyt uppoamaan tarinoihin täysillä mukaan. Oma vika siis. Teksti oli edeltäjänsä tapaan yhtä oivaltavaa ja ihanan arkista. Harmittaa, olisi pitänyt keskittyä kunnolla ja ajatella kunnolla. "Kotona isä luki sinulle ääneen, kunnes sinä nukahdit. Jos tarina oli oikein hyvä, sinä itkit - et siksi, että se olisi ollut surullinen, vaan koska se oli niin ihana, ja kaikki muu koko maailmassa oli niin surkeaa." ⬆ Jäi mieleen.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Stella

    This collection from Lucia Berlin is just as fabulous as her previous book, A Manuel for Cleaning Women. Following the stories of a thinly veiled look at her own life, we follow the stories of poverty, addiction, death and everything in between. There is a reason that Lucia Berlin's writing is so celebrated. The talent that lived inside of her was so rare and only because of her friends and family that we all know her now. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and r This collection from Lucia Berlin is just as fabulous as her previous book, A Manuel for Cleaning Women. Following the stories of a thinly veiled look at her own life, we follow the stories of poverty, addiction, death and everything in between. There is a reason that Lucia Berlin's writing is so celebrated. The talent that lived inside of her was so rare and only because of her friends and family that we all know her now. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kirja Vieköön!

    Lucia Berlinin elämä oli hurja ja värikäs. Hänen tarinoissaankin tapahtuu kaikkea karmivaa, mutta voi miten loistava novellisti hän onkaan! Tragedian keskeltä löytyy lämmintä huumoria ja yllättäviä näkökulman muutoksia: parin sanan siirtymä kesken kerronnan vie tarinan aivan odottamattomaan suuntaan. Berlin hämärtää autofiktion ja fiktion rajoja, sillä vaikka kuinka omaelämäkerralliselta kuulostaa, ikinä ei voi olla varma tapahtuiko näin vai noin. Hän värittää sumeilematta faktaa mielikuvituksell Lucia Berlinin elämä oli hurja ja värikäs. Hänen tarinoissaankin tapahtuu kaikkea karmivaa, mutta voi miten loistava novellisti hän onkaan! Tragedian keskeltä löytyy lämmintä huumoria ja yllättäviä näkökulman muutoksia: parin sanan siirtymä kesken kerronnan vie tarinan aivan odottamattomaan suuntaan. Berlin hämärtää autofiktion ja fiktion rajoja, sillä vaikka kuinka omaelämäkerralliselta kuulostaa, ikinä ei voi olla varma tapahtuiko näin vai noin. Hän värittää sumeilematta faktaa mielikuvituksella, sillä ”Tärkeintä on hyvä tarina."

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nick Moran

    Find me three words that more casually convey a universal truth than the ones at the end of this sentence in "A Foggy Day": "She babbled on as she always did when she talked with him, or with dentists." In Evening in Paradise, as in A Manual for Cleaning Women, Berlin's stories cover lifetimes sketched out of concise vignettes and genius observations. These aren't collections; they're entire worlds.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    If you thought the mammoth story collection, A Manual For Cleaning Women, was the last we'd hear of Lucia Berlin then this will be a pleasant surprise. 22 more stories are collected here, and the early ones in particular are enchanting. The later ones feel less focused but still with moments of brilliance. Apparently there are still 11 stories remaining, so let's hope for another collection soon.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sylvia

    It's very nicely written, her portrayals of settings and most characters are vivid. But I think I give her only 4 stars, because I just wasn't that interested in either her characters or their predicaments - but this is just me. I've not read A Manual for Cleaning Women which I know many people like. I will give it a try.

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