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A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories (2015)

by Lucia Berlin, ルシア ベルリン (Author)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,4695010,264 (4.2)191
"Stories from a lost American classic "in the same arena as Alice Munro" (Lydia Davis) "In the field of short fiction, Lucia Berlin is one of America's best kept secrets. That's it. Flat out. No mitigating conditions." --Paul Metcalf A Manual for Cleaning Women compiles the best work of the legendary short-story writer Lucia Berlin. With her trademark blend of humor and melancholy, Berlin crafts miracles from the everyday--uncovering moments of grace in the cafeterias and Laundromats of the American Southwest, in the homes of the Northern California upper classes, and from the perspective of a cleaning woman alone in a hotel dining room in Mexico City. The women of Berlin's stories are lost, but they are also strong, clever, and extraordinarily real. They are hitchhikers, hard workers, bad Christians. With the wit of Lorrie Moore and the grit of Raymond Carver, they navigate a world of jockeys, doctors, and switchboard operators. They laugh, they mourn, they drink. Berlin, a highly influential writer despite having published little in her lifetime, conjures these women from California, Mexico, and beyond. Lovers of the short story will not want to miss this remarkable collection from a master of the form"--… (more)
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» See also 191 mentions

English (43)  Spanish (4)  Norwegian (1)  Italian (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (50)
Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
Added Note: A vigorous discussion at the Breakfast Club prompted me to go and read this story a second time. I have upgraded my rating from a four to a five and I urge everyone to go and read this carefully. It might be the most brilliant modern short story out there.

This is a review of the title story only. No entry on Goodreads for it as an individual story. I would like to read this entire collection.

I love this kind of short story that seems to be about something simple, a cleaning lady and the jobs she has, but that succeeds in revealing something basic about humanity. In a few lines, Lucia Berlin tells us everything essential to know about the families our cleaning lady cleans for, and with almost as much brevity, we learn what our cleaning lady herself is up against in her personal life. The story is revealed to us through our nameless cleaner while she rides her bus from job to job and observes the people on the bus, the city outside the bus, and the internal conversation she has with herself. Well worth the read.


Read the Story Here ( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
Nem sötétül el az ég, nem nyom agyon a levegő, nem tombol, nem remeg bele, nem robajlik, nem csattan, nem szakad le. Fátyolfelhőzet és állandó szűrt fény. Sosem tisztul ki. Sűrű a levegő. De még éppen a végtelenségig kibírható.

Megtarthatom a biztonságos távolságot, miközben értem és átérzem, de nem kell cipelnem. Mindig megadja a lehetőséget erre; nézhetem a harmadik szemüket inkább, ha nem bírnám el. Ha másképp nem, hát váltogatott narrátorral. Remény nincs, valahogy mégis van fény. Nekem az utolsók voltak a legerősebbek. De már az első pillanatban felkerült a szeretem ezt az elbeszélői hangot polcra. ( )
  blueisthenewpink | Jul 2, 2022 |
Triste, dulce e importante. ( )
  eduardochang | Feb 3, 2022 |
https://www.instagram.com/p/CX_3CwwvUVQ/

Lucia Berlin - A Manual For Cleaning Women: Selected Stories: Kudos to whomever gave me this recommendation. Utterly astonishing. #cursorybookreviews #cursoryreviews ( )
  khage | Dec 27, 2021 |
I usually do not read short stories collections. I feel that starting out each book is an investment in getting to know its characters, and get involved in their pain. The short stories are sometimes not worth the investment as they conclude too quickly or take too long to get to the point.

This collection is different. The stories are worth reading for their individual value. They are vignettes, snapshots of a life lived in struggle, between poverty and affluence, sobriety and alcoholism, sickness and health, life and death. They are breathtaking for their emotional power.
They are also taken from the author's live, so we meet the same characters sometimes at different stages of their lives, from different points of view. It makes for an interesting reading like looking at lives in a mosaic of jigsaw puzzle form.

Lucia Berlin's writing is literary without being pretentious. Here the quirky humor, the inventive imagery and new turns of phrase trump the heavy literary prose that plagues most award-wining writing. She is a literary writer for the people, embracing their problems, their body odor, their embarrassing failings in the face of addiction, sickness, infidelity and death. One can feel her empathy and generosity of spirit throughout her narratives.

This book is sometimes heavy, sometimes funny but always profoundly relevant. It is worth putting on your bookshelf to dive into and re-read repeatedly. ( )
  moukayedr | Sep 5, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
In “A Manual for Cleaning Women” we witness the emergence of an important American writer, one who was mostly overlooked in her time. Ms. 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.
 

» Add other authors (39 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lucia Berlinprimary authorall editionscalculated
ベルリン, ルシアAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Aceto, FedericaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Anweiler, JustineCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davis, LydiaForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Emerson, StephenEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rávic Strubel, AntjeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Simpson, JonathanCover photographsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Torrescasana, AlbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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This is the collection of stories. Please do not combine it with the work that is just the title story.
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"Stories from a lost American classic "in the same arena as Alice Munro" (Lydia Davis) "In the field of short fiction, Lucia Berlin is one of America's best kept secrets. That's it. Flat out. No mitigating conditions." --Paul Metcalf A Manual for Cleaning Women compiles the best work of the legendary short-story writer Lucia Berlin. With her trademark blend of humor and melancholy, Berlin crafts miracles from the everyday--uncovering moments of grace in the cafeterias and Laundromats of the American Southwest, in the homes of the Northern California upper classes, and from the perspective of a cleaning woman alone in a hotel dining room in Mexico City. The women of Berlin's stories are lost, but they are also strong, clever, and extraordinarily real. They are hitchhikers, hard workers, bad Christians. With the wit of Lorrie Moore and the grit of Raymond Carver, they navigate a world of jockeys, doctors, and switchboard operators. They laugh, they mourn, they drink. Berlin, a highly influential writer despite having published little in her lifetime, conjures these women from California, Mexico, and beyond. Lovers of the short story will not want to miss this remarkable collection from a master of the form"--

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