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Women in Their Beds: New and Selected Stories

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  264 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
This remarkable collection received the National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the Rea Award for the Short Story, a gold medal from the Commonwealth Club of California, and the Bay Area Book Reviewers Award.
Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 1st 1997 by Counterpoint (first published March 1996)
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"Things come and go. I figure they go more often than they come. Not much came my way but I lost more than I had. If you see what I mean." {from "The Overcoat"}

"How could a man change like that? His entire body aware of her, even the soles of his feet against her feet, and then be that person no more? And why was it she could not tell anybody of what it did to her, though it sat day and night in her mind?" {from "Myra"}

I have an uncanny knack for picking things to read that mirror my emotions. P
Tom Leland
In selecting Gina Berriault, the 1997 Rea Award Jurors, Cynthia Ozick, Tobias Wolff, and Andre Dubus said:

"Gina Berriault is one of America's most accomplished masters of short fiction. Her stories astonish - not only in their range of character and incident, but in their worldliness, their swift and surprising turns, their penetration into palpable love and grief and hope. Her sentences are excitingly, startlingly juxtaposed; and though her language is plain, the complexity of her knowing leads
1) Women in Their Beds
2) Who Is It Can Tell Me Who I Am?
3) A Dream of Fair Women
4) Soul and Money
5) The Island of Ven
6) Lives of the Saints
7) Stolen Pleasures
8) The Overcoat
9) Zenobia
10) The Woman in the Rose-Colored Dress
11) Nights in the Gardens of Spain
12) Bastille Day
13) God and the Article Writer
14) Wilderness Fire
15) The Bystander
16) Death of a Lesser Man
17) The Search for J. Kruper
18) The Birthday Party
19) The Cove
20) Sublime Child
21) Around the Dear Ruin
22) The Diary of K.W.
24) The Stone
Marylee MacDonald
Nov 14, 2015 Marylee MacDonald rated it it was amazing
I wish Gina Berriault were still alive so I could thank her for these beautiful stories. The title story is set in a hospital where the women are literally lying in their beds, a situation and a title that perhaps had its origins in that phrase we were all told as young women--"You've made your bed and now you have to lie in it."

I don't know much about the author's life, only that she lived in the San Francisco area. I know that she won the National Book Award and that she was a very private per
M Sorensen
Jan 13, 2017 M Sorensen rated it liked it
We read this National Book Critics Circle Award Winner in our local book group. I found a lot to think about in "Who is it can tell me who I am?"
Laura J. W.
Nov 04, 2012 Laura J. W. rated it it was amazing
What a lovely collection of stories! Normally, I’ve made it a practice to read short story collections one story at a time as an interlude in between larger works, but this one, I could not read just one...I looked forward to reading the next one just as eagerly as I would the next chapter of a fascinating novel. Each story was a genuine gem; precise and simple; ordinary, yet extraordinary; quietly bittersweet without being too terribly sentimental; tragic and comic, for the dark to exist, there ...more
Dec 06, 2015 Tanya rated it really liked it
This is an unsettling collection. It took me a few tries over a few years to read this book. Most times I couldn't connect with the stories, but the fault of that was mine. Sometimes you need to slide into writing when mood and tone is right. Still, there were a few in here that I had to slog through. They just did not resonate with me. Again, I think I just couldn't pick up what they were putting down. When the stories did affect me they felled me by cutting achilles tendon. I still can't get u ...more
Jul 04, 2012 Brett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
That was one odd little collection of short stories. I read this book primarily because Ms. Berriault was an intimate of Richard Yates. Apparently they had an ongoing friendship and correspondence for a time. These stories, though they are fairly common settings - and comprised of fairly common activities - have a very discomforting observance to something there is no way I would have experienced in similar circumstances. The emotional responses seem completely genuine but at the sam ...more
Jun 21, 2013 Mark rated it it was amazing
I came across this collection of short stories through Poets and Writers Magazine. It sounded like something up my alley and I ordered a copy. Turns out, my instincts regarding literary fiction are pretty well spot on: This is a great collection of smart, well paced, short stories with soul. Berriault writes like Hemingway would have had he been a woman (or appreciated women for their brains as well as their bodies). You can feel Ernest's presence in many of these stories,not repeated as cheap m ...more
Laura  Yan
Nov 07, 2012 Laura Yan rated it it was ok
Shelves: unfinished
Apparently Gina Berriault is a writer's writer. Apparently that translates to over-the-top tragic and literary and descriptive prose, and impossible to read. I read two stories and I couldn't bring myself to finish more. I thought I'd really love this--but "craft' for the sake of craft is well, boring.

Which is to say: there's probably a reason this book won so many awards and yet no one knows who Gina Berriault is.
Jim Coughenour
Jul 12, 2007 Jim Coughenour rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bleakfiction
This book is a collection of Gina Berriault's short stories, including the best stories from an earlier collection, The Infinite Passion of Expectation. Her stories have a subtle, carefully-observed, almost heartless, literally breathtaking beauty. No one does what she does better. I worship her.

A handful of favorites: "The Birthday Party;" "The Cove;" "The Stone Boy;" "The Mistress;" "The Light at Birth."
Nov 25, 2014 William1 is currently reading it
Shelves: fiction, us, 20-ce, stories
These are extraorinarily well written stories. So far I've read "Women in their Beds," which is hilarious and moving; "Who Can Tell Me Who I Am?" about a librarian and his slow blossoming compassion; "A Dream of Fair Women," in which the staff of an Indian restaurant buckle under the strain of serving a famous critic.
Sep 19, 2015 Janice rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013-read
It was a very good book. I've bought everything I can find my Gina Berriault, whom I had not read before. A wonderful storyteller--the traditional kind of storyteller, a craftsman. A writer to learn from, as well as to enjoy.
Nov 05, 2011 Nancy rated it did not like it
i would give this negative stars it i could. my senior course in college was a class all about this author. argh. i actually sold this book back for only 50 cents because there was no way i was keeping it.
Rebecca Christina
May 16, 2014 Rebecca Christina rated it liked it
As a woman, I feel like my review should be gushing. As an honest woman, I say this book is a tad pretentious.
Apr 22, 2013 LD rated it did not like it
Shelves: book-2-book
I couldn't finish this book. The writing style would be wonderful, if the stories weren't so banal. It comes of simple, yet pretentious.
Jan 09, 2011 Sandy rated it it was amazing
I avoided reading this for a long time because I thought that it would be stridently feminist. I was simply beautiful Some of the best character studies ever. Don't skip it.
Some of the most memorable short stories I've read. Stone Boy is especially haunting. A good collection.
Jul 22, 2013 R. marked it as to-read
Note: Pleasant, illuminating essay on Berriault's life and work in Poetry and Writers (Vol. 40, Issue 5; Sept/Oct 2012) by Daphne Kalotay.
May 02, 2010 robert rated it it was amazing
the stars are for the story about the librarian -- Who is it can tell me who i am. the title story and the stone boy are far less interesting so i stopped reading the rest of the book.
Feb 09, 2009 Jenny rated it it was ok
The style in which she writes has a tendency to blur the stories and their individual traumas together. Lyrical, but flowery and self-consciously tragic.
ANNE E MORIN rated it it was amazing
Jan 28, 2016
Katy Daily
Katy Daily rated it it was ok
Jan 16, 2010
Robert Vaughan
Robert Vaughan rated it it was amazing
Jan 18, 2016
Nassar Chiromkana
Nassar Chiromkana rated it liked it
Apr 08, 2014
Stuart rated it did not like it
Mar 22, 2009
Tess rated it liked it
Dec 15, 2016
Shu Shen
Shu Shen rated it really liked it
Nov 21, 2011
Barrie rated it it was ok
Nov 26, 2008
Chevy rated it it was amazing
Jul 21, 2016
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