Evening in Paradise
A collection of previously uncompiled stories from the short-story master and literary sensation Lucia BerlinIn 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.

Evening in Paradise Details

TitleEvening in Paradise
Author
ReleaseNov 6th, 2018
PublisherFarrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN-139780374279486
Rating
GenreShort Stories, Fiction

Evening in Paradise Review

  • Meike
    January 1, 1970
    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.
    more
  • Kasa Cotugno
    January 1, 1970
    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.
    more
  • Lolly K Dandeneau
    January 1, 1970
    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, 2018Farrar, Straus and Giroux
    more
  • Theresa Smith Writes
    January 1, 1970
    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.
    more
  • Latkins
    January 1, 1970
    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.
    more
  • Rae
    January 1, 1970
    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.
    more
  • Brita
    January 1, 1970
    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.
    more
  • PfromJ
    January 1, 1970
    Exquisite, masterful, haunting stories.
Write a review