Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin

"Lucia Berlin's stories are electric, they buzz and crackle as the live wires touch"  Lydia Davis

Just brilliant!  A collection of stories based on the late Berlin's life (she called it "a transformation, not a distortion of the truth").  My favourite read so far this year but also somehow hard to describe.

Described as "the best writer you never heard of", Berlin has used her rich life history  in mining camps in Alaska, in a privileged life in Santiago and as a hipster in New York city. She also worked in hospitals and as house cleaner and college teacher. She was married three times by the age of 32; had 4 sons and a chronic alcohol addiction.  She has a very distinctive style and writes beautifully - funny, sad and surprising stories.
This book is surely a masterpiece from a genius writer - highly recommended, and I feel sad that Berlin has died before receiving the accolades she deserved while alive.

Reviewed by Katrina

Catalogue link: Manual for Cleaning Women

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