A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories


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The New York Times bestseller 'This selection of 43 stories should by all rights see Lucia Berlin as lauded as Jean Rhys or Raymond Carver' Independent The stories in A Manual for Cleaning Women make for one of the most remarkable unsung collections in twentieth-century American fiction. With extraordinary honesty and magnetism, Lucia Berlin invites us into her rich, itinerant life: the drink and the mess and the pain and the beauty and the moments of surprise and of grace. Her voice is uniquely witty, anarchic and ...

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Richard S. P

Jul 7, 2020

Too autobiographical

I'm sure I'm in a minority in not particularly liking this collection-though some of the work was delicious. Berlin certainly had an eye for incidents in her life that would pique a reader's interest. On the other hand, I found it too confessional, too personal, and so not distanced enough. Then, some of the sexual adventures seemed to me to be fantasy, not reality. Finally, if one likes the traditional story form, rather than the minimalist approach, this is not for you.

Jim G

Jan 21, 2016


As a long-time lover of modern American literature I have been thrilled to discover Lucia Berlin's writing. I am reading this book at the moment and am in a hurry to finish so that I can pass it on to my daughter but I keep stopping to breath properly again, such is the effect she causes. Lucia Berlin's life infuses much if not all of the stories so that it is like reading the autobiography of a multitude of American women; the joys, travails, despairs, delights and wonders, however, are those of us all at one time or another if we are lucky. Such a great book.

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