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Evening in Paradise: More Stories

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  2,793 ratings  ·  381 reviews
A collection of previously uncompiled stories from the short-story master and literary sensation Lucia Berlin.

In 2015, FSG published A Manual for Cleaning Women, a posthumous story collection by a relatively unknown writer, to wild, widespread acclaim. It was a New York Times bestseller; the paper's Book Review named it one of the Ten Best Books of 2015; and NPR, Time, En
Hardcover, 244 pages
Published November 6th 2018 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1981)
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Average rating 3.97  · 
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this is one of those times i feel lousy for having accepted a free copy of a book. not only for taking a month to read it and then an additional two months to actually sit down and review it, but (and this is tied in to why it has taken me so long to actually sit down and review it) because i’m not sure i have anything useful/interesting to say about it.

no, i mean more than usual, meanie.

there was a lot of excitement around lucia berlin when A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories was pu
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I will need to take a break from short stories for a while after reading this extraordinary collection. In comparison, short stories by other writers seem contrived, worked, crafted. Berlin writes in a conversational, natural way with language that jumps out and zaps the reader. I don't usually underline but my book is filled with markings. The pages are studded with insights, pure jewels that stopped me in my tracks - over and over and over.

Her stories are about lost, strong, hopeful women, of
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. Lucia Berlin's first set of literary short stories, A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories, was posthumously published in 2015 to great critical acclaim. Hence this second set of twenty mostly slice-of-life tales by Berlin, who wrote mostly in the 1960's-80's.

With colorful characters and typically bleak stories, Evening in Paradise is a walk on the seedier side of life. Berlin wrote well, in a spare style that reminded me of Ernest Hemingway's work, though her attention is most
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
At the fringes of different worlds...

These stories are reports by an inquisitive & magnificently profound voice, from and about PLACES this reviewer himself holds dear, as actual memories. (El Paso, Juarez, Puerto Vallarta, Albuquerque, Mexico D.F., Paris.) Berlin writers about place like no other short story writer (Faulkner, yes)...

Hers is the life of a roving traveler; she is a part of a troupe of artistes. Tales of wives that stand firmly by their eccentric/lost husband-artists are prevalen
Jul 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-read, usa
Lucia Berlin’s short story collection A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories, published posthumously in 2015, caused quite a stir and turned the author into a worldwide literary sensation. “Evening in Paradise” is the follow-up and offers 22 more stories that often refer to Berlin’s real life: We meet literary doppelgängers of her, her parents, her four kids and her three ex-husbands, and among the recurring themes are alcohol and heroin addiction, relationships gone sour, poverty and dea ...more
da AL
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An apt follow-up to Lucia Berlin's masterful collection of short stories, "A Manual for Cleaning Women." Even the stilted audiobook performance, mispronunciations included, of audiobook reader Kyla Garcia (sing-song flat and slow, it helped slightly to listen with the audio track sped up) can't dull its shine. ...more
Sep 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yet more masterful stories, and most of these, as was the case with A Manual For Cleaning Women, sing with a rare and luminous brilliance. The term 'born storyteller' might be a little hackneyed but nothing else seems to fit quite as well -- a life lived and relived on the page, boiled down and polished to its immaculate essence second time around, and deserving an inevitable place in the American canon.


'We had breakfast in both houses. Mamie made biscuits and gravy; at Hope’s house we had kib
Kasa Cotugno
Three years ago, I was blown away by A Manual for Cleaning Women, a compilation of stories by Lucia Berlin, gathered by her publishers and friends ten years after her death. I mentioned at the time that I felt a short story collection in which every story is good presents a challenge to a reader that novels do not. Each immersive piece requires more of an effort, whereas once under the spell of a novel, a reader can have a smoother experience.

Thus, I was thrilled to be offered an early copy of
Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Reading Lucia Berlin is like listening to a really good storyteller. The narrators' voices ring real--especially women who, like her, live in New Mexico, Albuquerque, or San Francisco/Oakland and are mothers and, often, alcoholics (similar to Berlin's own personal and life). I loved those stories the most.

The stories are not as uniformly magnificent as I found those in A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories but all are good and several are wonderful. A mother trying to make a fresh start
Francesca Marciano
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Such good writing. More humour and less sadness than in Manual for a Cleaning Woman, this is another gem.
Lolly K Dandeneau
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Via my blog:
'Missed moments. One word, one gesture, can change your entire life, can break everything or make it whole.'

I have been wanting to read A Manual for Cleaning Women for a long time, having read glowing reviews so when I saw this one up for grabs I tucked in and wasn’t disappointed. Reading that many stories were based on her real life made them all the more satisfying. I was tickled by Tiny on the roof in the story Noel. Texas.1956. Spending her
Cátia Vieira
May 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Why should you read this book?
I was extremely excited to dive into Lucia Berlin’s work for the first time. Although I have A Manual for Cleaning Women waiting to be read in my shelves, I decided to start with Evening in Paradise. After reading this book and some reviews on Goodreads, I am left wondering if I made a mistake.

Evening in Paradise is a posthumous collection of 22 stories that can be described as raw. They’re funny at times, but they’re always dark. From what I’ve read about Berlin’s
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Berlin's earlier collection, A Manual For Cleaning Women, is the book that changed my mind about short stories. She uses the raw material of her own life--alcoholism, young sons, constant moving, the American West and Southwest--in stories that constantly circle around similar themes and characters. They are written in startlingly lucid yet straightforward prose, vivid with imagery, often illuminated by a single unexpected word or phrase. Evening in Paradise is the second collection of her work ...more
Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I never read anything by Berlin before this book. It starts with an into by her son that moved me. I loved all the stories and the vivid view of the places she took me reading it. Remarkable collection. A true treasure.
I won this on Goodreads. So glad I did.

Dawnny -BookGypsy
Novels N Latte Book Blog
Novels & Latte Book Club
Hudson Vallley NY
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
I approached this collection with some trepidation, fearing that these were just the table scraps left behind when the stunning A Manual for Cleaning Women was assembled. Reading the first story, "The Musical Vanity Boxes", quickly disabused me of that fear: the stories in this shorter collection are all of a quality which would have allowed any of them to have been collected in the previous volume. Once again, almost all of the stories are refractions of the author's own life, with the names o ...more
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
The uncollected Lucia Berlin.

Lucia Berlin died in 2004 and found posthumous fame in 2015 with A Manual for Cleaning Women, a collection that could persuade even the most committed short-story-phobe of the merits of the genre.

I’m afraid I found this ‘new’ collection disappointing and was left in little doubt as to why these stories had not been chosen for the earlier compilation. With the exception of one or two, I was confused with the characters and unable to fully engage. A great pity, as I l
Stef Smulders
Dec 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
A very mixed bag. Some very good stories but also quite a few bad ones, not fit to have been published imho. Not a very careful selection at all!
Viktorija B.
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
What a perfect collection. Lucia Berlin has truly become one of my favorite authors. Melancholy and witty, her way with words has really gripped my heart.
the stories were collected and arranged perfectly, and I found many memorable favorites among them (My Life is an Open Book, Lost in the Louvre, Our Brother's Keeper, Cherry Blossom time, Lead Street and Itinerary).
Lucia has lead a fascinating life and she writes about it in such a way where her memories have become carved into my mind. I'm sur
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
In her Paris Review article "But I Don't Ever Lie: On Lucia Berlin," Rebecca Bengal aptly writes "There are masters of the paragraph and masters of the sentence; Lucia Berlin is the master of the fragment." Berlin's skillful use of sentence fragments propels her stories, bringing them uniquely alive. I can't wait to read more from this prolific and talented, but until recently, under appreciated writer. ...more
A perfect blend of the nonchalance of contemporary Latin American short story writers and the steadfast solidity of their American predecessors from the 60s-70s. Never sure which sentences came from Berlin's wild imagination and which were picked from her own life. Honestly, it doesn't matter. ...more
Pamela Mikita
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In awe. She never disappoints. Was a quieter version of A Manual for Cleaning Women. Glad she is being recognized for the great writer she was.
Anja Nicolaus
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simply beautiful! I just love Berlin‘s (mostly autobiographical) stories, her broken yet tough, always very human characters.
Theresa Smith
Sep 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-bingo-2018
I had never actually heard of Lucia Berlin prior to receiving this collection of short stories. Her short bio indicates that she led a colourful life and the stories included in this collection are reminiscent of the experiences indicated in her bio. Her style is rather conversational, witty and desperately honest, sometimes painfully so. Not all of the stories were to my taste, some were a little difficult to follow, almost rambling. Others were perfection, a little slice of somebody’s life you ...more
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This mood matches my mood, at least this week. The first story gave me pause, and took a few false starts before I could get into it, but once I dove in the rest was easy.
tortoise dreams
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
A sequel of sorts to the remarkable collection A Manual for Cleaning Women.

Book Review: Evening in Paradise contains 22 more stories by the recently rediscovered Lucia Berlin (1936-2004). This is both a blessing and a curse (though I won't lie: more Lucia Berlin can only be a good thing). The biographical note states that Berlin wrote 76 stories. Her previous collection, the beyond brilliant A Manual for Cleaning Women (2015), contained 43 stories (stating that they were her "best work"). So of
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed A Manual For Cleaning Women, the book of selected short stories by the late Lucia Berlin, and I also enjoyed this follow-up of more stories. The tales are arranged in a kind of chronological order of Berlin's life (helped by a mini-biography at the end of the book), as, although fiction, most of the stories are clearly based on her own experiences. Ranging from El Paso to Chile, to New York, Paris, California and Mexico, from the 1940s to the early 21tst century, these stories p ...more
Peter Landau
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Who wouldn’t want to party with Lucia Berlin? The women who populate her short stories, EVENING IN PARADISE, the second collection reprinted by a major publishing house, are all a hoot. Most of them, I think, are her. The stories don’t reek of autobiography but are richly seasoned by a truthful focus on her own life. It’s a life that doesn’t get typed up on neat pages and displayed on bookshelves, which makes these stories even more vital. Look, some are better than others, but all took me in, o ...more
George K. Ilsley
Sep 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
This collection starts off strong and ends strong but there is some sponginess in the second half. A couple of pieces are only a page long, and others are iterations of the same themes. Overall, though, combined with “Manual ...” this is an impressive selection of stories.
Here is a paragraph from Dust to Dust:
“There are things people just don’t talk about. I don’t mean the hard things, like love, but the awkward ones, like how funerals are fun sometimes or how it’s exciting to watch buildings
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I don't know if the 5 stars is for Berlin's writing on it's own, or for how the entire collection comes together as an example of very good story writing AND a portrait of a deeply fascinating life led by an extraordinarily observant and self-aware person. I don't feel frustrated or bothered by the lack of delineation between fiction and memoir in general, least of all when Lucia Berlin creates such beautiful mosaics out of "real" "truth" and true feelings. If you expect all your writers to pull ...more
Clem Paulsen
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An utterly charming collection of stories about passion and common sense. It's the 'common sense' part that's tart and refreshing: a world furnished without limitless underground lakes of evil tendency.

But not saccharine. Human needs do lots of gripping: they command. Bright lines drown by resourceful, needy characters told in sometimes trippy ways. Decay is wistful. Communities reckon with moments of need. Everyone lives in their own present, and all the presents take place simultaneously. Plus
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Berlin began publishing relatively late in life, under the encouragement and sometimes tutelage of poet Ed Dorn. Her first small collection, Angels Laundromat was published in 1981, but her published stories were written as early as 1960. Several of her stories appeared in magazines such as The Atlantic and Saul Bellow’s little magazine The Noble Savage.

Berlin published six collections of short st

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One of the easiest ways to achieve your 2019 Goodreads Reading Challenge goals is to read books you can't put down. To help, we gave...
87 likes · 21 comments
“Existe un vínculo entre los pacientes de diálisis, como entre los alcohólicos anónimos o los supervivientes de un terremoto. Son conscientes del indulto, se tratan unos a otros con más ternura y respeto que la gente normal.” 2 likes
“Hay cosas de las que la gente nunca habla. No me refiero a las cosas difíciles, como el amor, sino a las más bochornosas, como por ejemplo que los funerales a veces son divertidos o que es emocionante ver arder un edificio. El funeral de Michael fue maravilloso.” 1 likes
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