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A Manual for Cleaning Women
A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories | Lucia Berlin
The New York Times bestseller 'This selection of 43 stories should by all rights see Lucia Berlin as lauded as Jean Rhys or Raymond Carver' IndependentThe stories in A Manual for Cleaning Women make for one of the most remarkable unsung collections in twentieth-century American fiction.With extraordinary honesty and magnetism, Lucia Berlin invites us into her rich, itinerant life: the drink and the mess and the pain and the beauty and the moments of surprise and of grace. Her voice is uniquely witty, anarchic and compassionate. Celebrated for many years by those in the know, she is about to become - a decade after her death - the writer everyone is talking about. The collection will be introduced by Lydia Davis.'With Lucia Berlin we are very far away from the parlours of Boston and New York and quite far away, too, from the fiction of manners, unless we are speaking of very bad manners . . . The writer Lucia Berlin most puts me in mind of is the late Richard Yates.' LRB, 1999
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GatheringBooks
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Pickpick

#GratefulReads Day 22: A new #FavoriteAuthor. She has transformed each of her mundane experiences into tiny fables, distilled sketches of people whom the reader would love to meet. They are portraits of vulnerability but always with admirable dignity even with the degradation of addiction. Lucia has birthed her tragedy in the mud, she lies in it, covered in muck, but still with glowing eyes, iridescent, beautiful. My review https://wp.me/pDlzr-kqY

OriginalCyn620 👍🏻📚 2mo
charl08 I didn't always like her stories, but they are so memorable! 2mo
Leftcoastzen She‘s incredible. Some of her stories are a heartbreaking gut punch. 2mo
63 likes2 stack adds3 comments
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Magslhalliday
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Mehso-so

I enjoyed many of the short stories in this, but ultimately stopped 60 pages from the end. This posthumous collection needed editing down: later stories repeat characters, locations and details. Several in a row all circling the same autobiographical situation led me to put it down. But the first half crackles.

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Autumnscribe
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Pickpick

This may be the single best collection of short stories I have ever read. Berlin is raw in her honestly, stark in her truth, and tender in her treatment of brutal situations. She never turns away, or sugar coats things, even if the result of this decision is that it may not always paint a flattering picture of her protagonist/self. And yet she does all of this without ever being bitter. Truly amazing. I am in awe of her talent and humbleness.

Leftcoastzen Summed up nicely! It was honest and brutal at times. 7mo
16 likes2 comments
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Autumnscribe
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Easily the best collection of short stories I have encountered since I first discovered Dorothy Parker in my twenties.

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WanderingBookaneer
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Tagged book is my current read.

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WanderingBookaneer
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Magslhalliday
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Today‘s #LibraryHaul. One for me, two for 8yo.

10 likes1 comment
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GatheringBooks
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Vivid, mundane, extraordinary. I am loving this collection of short stories surfaced from Berlin‘s inner life. It is good that our library has 3 physical copies of the book - returned the one I had (because due date is up), & borrowed the other identical title I scoured from the shelves. I am delightfully discovering so many outstanding female authors, thanks to our #WomenReadWomen2019 reading theme. Millefeuille pancakes, too, for Mother‘s Day!

BarbaraBB I just read this one too! A few gems among these stories! 8mo
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BarbaraBB
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Pickpick

Perfection in writing I think, the way Lucia Berlin arranged the short stories in this book. Each sentence is beautiful in its own. So much so that it at times distracted me from reading the stories as a whole.
Together they tell the lives of ordinary women who have lived the hard life.
A book to read very slowly - which I didn‘t have the patience for, so I may have to read them again one day.

#ReadingUSA2019 #NewMexico
(Pic: Girona, Spain)

Cinfhen Lovely photo and review !!!!! 9mo
BarbaraBB @Cinfhen Thanks. It is a cathedral that was a setting in Game of Thrones (I wouldn‘t know), many fans here 😉😀 9mo
Cinfhen Ha!!! What do we know?!???! 9mo
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Leftcoastzen It‘s got some scenes that really grind the reader down. 9mo
BarbaraBB @Leftcoastzen Indeed, and they feel so real! 9mo
Megabooks Agreed @Leftcoastzen and Barbara! 9mo
67 likes2 stack adds6 comments
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GatheringBooks
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What Fridays should (more or less) look like. How‘s your Friday shaping up? #WomenReadWomen2019

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GatheringBooks
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#SpringIntoReading Day 7: What my #SelfCareSunday looks like, alongside an unexpected library find.

mreads Those chocolates are so good ❤😀 9mo
vkois88 Fun! 9mo
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Pen_Meets_Paper
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Pickpick

Lucia Berlin‘s stories have a slice-of-life quality that feels compelling in its tedium.

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Pen_Meets_Paper
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Up next.

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DannyOlda
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I've never heard this thought articulated before but it rings so true. Going to be thinking about this one for days.

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BookNAround
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Mehso-so

I‘m not a huge short story fan so perhaps that colored my feelings here but while the writing is well done, it felt repetitious. Full review at http://booknaround.blogspot.com/2018/08/review-manual-for-cleaning-women-by.html

arubabookwoman I gave this a pick because of the gorgeous writing, and wonderful characters (I usually don‘t get along with short stories either). But I agree that it was repetitious. There were more than 40 stories in the book. There were also recurring characters, many undergoing similar experiences. I spread the reading out over a long time, but I felt that some of the stories could have been omitted and the book would have been much better. 1y
Pamwurtzler Good to know. I have this on my TBR but maybe won‘t bother now. 1y
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arubabookwoman
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Finished this last night. I highly recommend it, especially if you like your short stories gritty and your characters downtrodden—even more so than Raymond Carver‘s.

Laura317 😂 that‘s a great quote. 1y
Aimeesue I picked this one up when volunteering my services as Donated Book Sorter (perks!) I'm going to move it up my TBR list. I could do with short pieces after finishing Titus Groan last night. 😄 1y
charl08 I read this last year: has stayed with me, usually a good sign! 1y
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arubabookwoman
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Seventh grade, my first dance. My mom made me a dress of lavender dotted Swiss, which I had totally forgotten about until I read this.
I am finding Lucia Berlin to be an amazing writer, even though short stories aren‘t usually my thing.

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MeikeReads
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Pickpick

This book is not included in the Litsy database yet - it's the brand new Lucia Berlin short story collection with 22 additional texts, out in November. Funny and sad, authentic and imagined - I wish the author was still alive to witness her success! #LuciaBerlin #EveningInParadise #Netgalley #arc #fsgbooks

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sofiaga
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Boyfriend and I had plans to go to yoga. Ended up eating a whole loaf of bread filled with passion fruit and creams cheese, putting pjs and reading in bed.

Beckys_Books Sounds perfect 1y
Texreader Ummmm, sounds good to me! 1y
sofiaga Yes. It‘s awesome to date someone who is also an introvert and a reader :) @Beckys_Books @Texreader 1y
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sofiaga
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This is how I am finishing my Sunday afternoon

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sofiaga
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My plan for tonight.

DebbieGrillo Mmmm good plan! 1y
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jdtchicago

There are good suicides. Good reasons. Many times like terminal illness, pain. But I‘m more impressed with good technique. Bullets through the brain. Properly slashed wrists. Decent barbiturates. Such people, even if they don‘t succeed, seem to emanate a peace, a strength, which may have some from making a thoughtful decision. It‘s the repeats that get to me. The forty penicillin capsules....

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strandbookstore
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Pickpick

WCW goes out to Lucia Berlin, whose collection of short stories is both riveting and witty. #writercrushwednesday #wcw | https://buff.ly/2J2vosZ

SwedePea I need the keychain! Where can it be acquired? 2y
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jdtchicago

Mrs. Armitage had been different, although she was old too. That was in NYC at the San Juan Laundry on 15th St...I was a young mother then and washed diapers on Thursdays. She lived above me. One morning at the laundry she gave me a key and I took it. She said that if I didn‘t see her on Thursdays it meant she was dead and would I please go find her body. That was a terrible thing to ask of someone; also then I had to do my laundry on Thursdays.

Leftcoastzen I read “Where I Live now “ back when it came out. Not in the database, Black Sparrow Press 1999. 2y
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jdtchicago

I'll bet the Catholic Church lost out on a lot of would-be nuns when they started dressing like ordinary meter maids.

Suet624 Hahahaha. I used to think that too. 2y
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jdtchicago

As a rule, never work for friends. Sooner or later they resent you because you know so much about them. Or else you‘ll no longer like them, because you do.

Suet624 This is a fact. I have made friends with all my bosses and they lost their shine, for sure. Except for Bernie Sanders. 2y
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jdtchicago

The people who were content with each other spoke as little as those who bristled with resentment or boredom; it was the rhythm of their speech that differed, like a lazy tennis ball batted back and forth or the quick swattings of a fly.

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jdtchicago

One thing I do know about death. The “better” the person, the more loving and happy and caring, the less of a gap that person‘s death makes.

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jdtchicago

I smoked while they compared booty. Things they took … nail polish, perfume, toilet paper. Things they were given … one-earrings, twenty hangers, torn bras. (Advice to cleaning women: Take everything that your lady gives you and say Thank you. You can leave it on the bus, in the crack.)

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jdtchicago

Some lady at a bridge party somewhere started the rumor that to test the honesty of a cleaning woman you leave little rosebud ashtrays around with loose change in them, here and there. My solution to this is to always add a few pennies, even a dime.

Suet624 Love this. 2y
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jdtchicago

The world just goes along. Nothing much matters, you know? I mean really matters. but then sometimes, just for a second, you get this grace, this belief that it does matter, a whole lot.

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jdtchicago

The only reason I have lived so long is that I let go of my past. Shut the door on grief on regret on remorse. If I let them in, just one self-indulgent crack, whap, the door will fling open gales of pain ripping through my heart blinding my eyes with shame breaking cups and bottles knocking down jars shattering windows stumbling bloody on spilled sugar and broken glass terrified gagging until with a final shudder and sob I shut the heavy door.

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jdtchicago

I‘m having a hard time writing about Sunday. Getting the long hollow feeling of Sundays. No mail and faraway lawn mowers, the hopelessness.

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Lariluna
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You'll listen to all the compulsive, obsessive boring little details of this woman's, Henrietta's, life only because it is written in the third person. You'll fell, hell, if the narrator thinks there is something in this dreary creature worth writing about there must be.

StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego Welcome to Litsy 👋😁 2y
asiriusreader Welcome to Litsy! 2y
See All 8 Comments
niha923 Welcome to Litsy!! 📚🎉👋😀 2y
Eggs Welcome to Litsy 👋🏻😊👋🏻 2y
JoScho Welcome to Litsy!!! I hope you love it 💕 2y
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Welcome to Litsy!!! 2y
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Emarieh
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“The people who were content with each other spoke as little as those who bristled with resentment or boredom; it was the rhythm of their speech that differed, like a lazy tennis ball batted back and forth or the quick swattings of a fly.”

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well.read.panda
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Pickpick

I can definitely see why my mother has been recommending this book to me for some long, and why the authors of the forewords bemoan that Berlin doesn't have more readers. #shortstories

UrsulaMonarch Hm good point! I think I read some of this collection & it was too brutal for me, but that excerpt seems interesting... and informative about the next time we take #BART 2y
well.read.panda @UrsulaMonarch I could see the brutality angle. Some of the stories are pretty prosaic, some are hard to take. And by the end of this story, the protagonist decides she's ok with the waits on BART :-) 2y
UrsulaMonarch @well.read.panda 😅! Maybe I should try it again & jump around the stories more 2y
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azulaco
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#riotgrams Feb. 6: I don‘t read a lot of #shortstories, but this collection has been on my TBR for awhile. I‘m looking forward to reading it later this year.

CherryPie I like it. ☺👍 2y
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2BR02B
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#riotgrams: day six

I'm not the most avid reader of #shortstories, but here are some collections I'm hoping to get to sooner rather than later. I arranged them carefully on my floor where they were promptly appropriated into furniture, as most things are. These are tribulations I must routinely contend with thanks to #catsoflitsy

merelybookish Clearly he's more important than any books! 😸 2y
SandyW 😻😻😻 2y
Leftcoastzen Strike a pose!😻 2y
See All 6 Comments
batsy Wearing those books well! 2y
suvata All good books 2y
Zelma Well, anything n the ground is fair game to lay on. 😆😻 2y
82 likes6 comments
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CherryPie
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I like shorts. Short stories are better than their 1,000+ page siblings. Talking fiction here. Why bother forming a brick when you can make a beautiful decorative tile? I'll never understand it. Must be like puking. Can't stop the heaving. #riotgrams @bookriot

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BookNAround
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After my second migraine in three days (this weather is killing me!), I figured I‘d pick up some short stories. I started reading them in 2016 but then other things took precedence and I set them down. About time I really settled in with them, I think.

Graciouswarriorprincess Feel better soon. 2y
cobwebmoth I hope the migraines ease up soon! 2y
megt I hope the migraines let up soon! 2y
78 likes2 stack adds3 comments
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LaviniaG
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These stories are really starting to grow on me. Good job, Lucia!

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Augustdana
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I had these books hanging around my bedside table, and they all had pretty bright covers, hoping to read #covertocover real soon #fallintoreading #fallintobooks

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kalinichta
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Turns out I had appendicitis. Boo! But I'm home resting from surgery now. Yay! And I got to read some really great stories from this collection. Though the title of the next story seems ominous considering the timing.

Moray_Reads Nasty! Feel better soon ❤ 2y
batsy Yikes! Take care & speedy recovery 🌻 2y
kalinichta @Moray_Reads Thank you! 💗 2y
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kalinichta @batsy Thank you! And thanks for the pretty flower. 2y
TrishB Take care ❤ 2y
Eyelit Take care! 💙 2y
Bibliogeekery Get well soon 2y
kalinichta @TrishB @Eyelit @Bibliogeekery Thank you all so much. 💗💙💚 2y
Suet624 Wow!!!! Jeepers!!! I'm glad you figured it out! 2y
kalinichta @Suet624 Thanks! It was nerve-wracking at the time, but I'm glad I made myself go to the ER. 2y
Libby1 I hope you're feeling better soon. 💜 2y
kalinichta @Libby1 Oh, thank you so much. 💜 I'm doing much better. 2y
15 likes12 comments
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Blaire
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In D.C. and browsing one of my favorite book stores #kramerbooks and saw this one (which I've read a portion of) with the #occupationinthetitle #fallintoreading.

lynneamch ❤Kramerbooks. Always like to get to Politics & Prose, too, when I'm there 2y
Blaire @lynneamch politics and prose is wonderful as well. Also hit up second story books and got some great used ones as well. 2y
43 likes2 comments
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Lindy
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Pickpick

At first I thought I was pushing through this fat collection—400p—too quickly, maybe I should space the short stories out with other things, but by the middle of the book I was just too hooked to stop. Autobiographical, colourful; the cumulative effect is like a post-modern novel. Her conversational style is fab! "Matter of fact you can lie and still tell the truth. This story is good, and it rings true, wherever it came from." Oh, yes!

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Lindy
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The priest prayed in Latin. Wetting his fingers in a chalice he held in his left hand, he made the sign of the cross on each baby's forehead, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost. The parents were serious, prayed solemnly. I wished that the priest would bless each mother, too, make some sign, give her some protection.
-from Fool to Cry

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Lindy
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"You get DTs?" Pepe asked.
"Yes," she lied. God, just listen to me…please accept me you guys, please like me you runny-eyed bums.
I don't know what DTs are. The doctor asked me that too. I think I've had them all my life, if, in fact, they are visions of demons.
-from Her First Detox

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Lindy
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Mama hated children. I met her once at an airport when all four of my kids were little. She yelled 'Call them off!' as if they were a pack of Dobermans.

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Lindy
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It had a fur collar. Oh the poor matted fur, once silver, yellowed now like the peed-on backsides of polar bears in zoos.

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Lindy
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Often they wore their hair in pin curls and a turban, getting their hair ready for—what? This still is an American custom. You see women everywhere in pink hair rollers. It's some sort of philosophical or fashion statement. Maybe there will be something better, later.