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Women in Their Beds: New and Selected Stories
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Women in Their Beds: New and Selected Stories

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  206 ratings  ·  29 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
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
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
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
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
Laura  Yan
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.
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: 20-ce, fiction, stories, us
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.
Berriault takes seemingly pallid moments and turns them into interesting short stories. She drives the stories with with fresh and original language that is not only beautiful to read, but which often lifts the "little" moments of life into the realm of the spectacular.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rebecca Christina
As a woman, I feel like my review should be gushing. As an honest woman, I say this book is a tad pretentious.
Paakhi Srivastava
A composition of short stories bring to life repressed parts within a women.. Most recommended
This got a lot of buzz, but the only buzz I got was falling asleep quickly
Was good, though I liked some essays more than others.
These stories aren't cheerful, but what an amazing writer.
amazing collection of short stories...a must read
Taylur Thu
Beautiful. No one writes like her.
Rudy Oldeschulte
Excellent, provocative stories...
Just so many lovely short stories!
Jul 29, 2011 Sara marked it as to-read
Shelves: pen-faulkner
97 pen/faulkner award
Aug 25, 2012 Michelle marked it as to-read
Out of print
Sep 29, 2010 Mariya marked it as to-read
N O\\
Veronica Shields
Veronica Shields marked it as to-read
Mar 02, 2015
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  • The Old Forest and Other Stories
  • The Caprices
  • Mrs. Ted Bliss
  • Sent for You Yesterday
  • The Bear Comes Home
  • The Collected Stories
  • How German is It (Wie Deutsch ist es)
  • Dusk and Other Stories
  • The Chaneysville Incident
  • The Barracks Thief
  • The Middleman and Other Stories
  • The Early Stories
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  • October Light
  • Small Avalanches and Other Stories
  • War Trash
  • A Whisper in the Dark
  • Billy Bathgate
The Lights of Earth The Son The Infinite Passion of Expectation The Tea Ceremony: The Uncollected Writings of Gina Berriault The Descent

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