A Manual for Cleaning Women Lib/E: Selected Stories
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, from the foreword
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.
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About the Author
Read by Thom Rivera, Dawn Harvey, Carol Monda, Hillary Huber, Bernadette Dunne, and Kyla Garcia
Dawn Harvey has been performing for as long as she has been able to walk and talk and sing. She was already a stage and film actress when she began her voice-over career and now is an AudioFile Earphones Award-winning narrator.
Carol Monda is an Earphones Award-winning narrator and accomplished voice-over artist. She is also an award-winning actor known for her work in Out of Season, After You Left, and The Gentlemen.
Bernadette Dunne is the winner of more than a dozen AudioFile Earphones Awards and has twice been nominated for the prestigious Audie Award. She studied at the Royal National Theatre in London and the Studio Theater in Washington, DC, and has appeared at the Kennedy Center and off Broadway.
Kyla Garcia is an AudioFile Earphones Award-winning narrator. Born and raised in Hoboken, New Jersey, she discovered acting at the age of eight when she played Lady Macbeth in a children's adaptation of Shakespeare's tragedy. She made her off-Broadway debut at fifteen when she played Dorothy in Oz: A Twisted Musical. Eleven years after she discovered her passion for acting, she would go on to play Lady Macbeth once again in London at the Globe Theatre, where she studied Shakespeare during her third year at Mason Gross School of the Arts. She received her BFA in acting from Rutgers University.
Lydia Davis was born in Northampton, Massachusetts and educated at Barnard College. Her novels and short stories have received numerous awards, including the Whiting Foundation Writers' Award for Fiction, the Lannan Literary Award for Fiction, and the Man Booker International Prize. Her collection, Varieties of Disturbance: Stories was a National Book Award finalist. She has also produced several new translations of French literary classics, including Proust's Swann's Way and Flaubert's Madame Bovary. Davis is one of only three authors to have their work featured in the Best American Short Stories and the Best American Poetry series.
Berlin's electrifying posthumous collection A Manual for Cleaning Women is a miracle of storytelling economy, showcasing this largely unheard-of writer's genius for streetwise erudition and sudden, soul-baring epiphanies.
These [stories]...illuminate a gritty world...Infused with Berlin's caustic humor and a sense of self-discovery...the most touching stories have fun with the foreboding.
Sentences so bright and fierce and full of wild color that you'll want to turn each one over just to see how she does it. And then go back and read them all again. Grade A.-- "Entertainment Weekly"
[These stories] showcase a singular if unsung American voice.-- "Vogue"
Women who behave badly oscillate beautifully between funny ha-ha and funny-sad in these perfectly clipped, nuanced stories.
-- "Marie Claire"
Berlin's stories make you marvel at the contingencies of our existence. She is the real deal. Her stories swoop low over towns and moods and minds.-- "New York Times"
Berlin's stories are full of second chances. Now readers have another chance to confront them: bits of life, chewed up and spat out like a wad of tobacco, bitter and rich.-- "New York Times Book Review"
Berlin's tales of addiction and violence, formally unpredictable and drolly grotesque, defy our expectations for working-class fiction.-- "Newsday"
Brings together forty-three of the unconventional, unnerving stories Berlin wrote over the course of thirty years...offer[ing] unusually detailed portraits of working-class lives.-- "New Republic"
[Lucia Berlin] may just be the best writer you've never heard of...Berlin's offbeat humor, get-on-with-it realism, and ability to layer details that echo across stories and decades give her book a tremendous staying power.-- "Publishers Weekly (starred review)"
Berlin is exceptionally attuned to the randomness of life, its pains and pleasures, our vulnerability and resiliency...An essential collection of jazzy, jolting, incisive, wryly funny, and keenly compassionate, virtuoso tales.-- "Booklist (starred review)"
A testament to a writer whose explorations of society's rougher corners deserve wider attention.-- "Kirkus Reviews (starred review)"
Berlin's writing, both tempered and elastic, provides a perfect springboard, and the narrators use it to full advantage: gracefully leaping, twisting, and-when called for-landing with force on the emotional heart of each story. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.-- "AudioFile"