The “Unfathomable Uniqueness” of Lucia Berlin

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At Electric Literature, Kelly Luce discusses the new collection of Lucia Berlin’s stories, A Manual for Cleaning Women, why she loves her fiction, and how the author’s work has often been overlooked until now:

Maybe it’s because she was a woman writing largely about women, from the perspective of women, and also about real sadness—not cute pat-her-on-the-head romantic problems and family matters. The women in her stories work jobs that roughen the hands and tax the knees; they work jobs that cause a lifetime of lower back pain. Who wants to read about that? And, to make matters worse, she was funny.


Katie O'Brien is an English major at Cornell University, where she writes for kitsch magazine, DJs for a rock station, and complains about the cold. Find her on Twitter @abluekite. More from this author →