One thought on “So Long: Stories, 1987-1992”

  1. Who Will Save the Stories of Lucia Berlin?When I was 23 years old this was my favorite book. Then as now, I was peculiarly strict about what should be read when and where -- there were books for the morning or the afternoon, for dawn, sunset or midnight. There were the books that were right when accompanied by two strong cups of coffee, by casual distraction or complete exhaustion. There were books that were right for the toilet, for the cafe, or for the bus. So Long was the only book I had that [...]

  2. Lucia Berlin was my Fiction Writing professor at the University of Colorado in 1998. She still holds a very special place in my heart, as she was the one who encouraged me to write what I knew best.In this collection of short stories, Berlin mixes fiction and memory, jumping from the Alaskan mining town of her youth, to the coast of Mexico with her dying sister, to Santiago, Chile, and modern-day Oakland where she fights her alcoholism while raising young children. "So Long" contains personal an [...]

  3. I don't know how I missed Lucia Berlin when I was trying to read through the Black Sparrow catalog years ago but I did and now her selected stories, A Manual for Cleaning Women, is everywhere, a genuine literary bestseller. Published by FSG, getting write-ups in the New Yorker, the book is off in Franzen-land, a place where every peckerwood in NY and LA who reads books suddenly has an unified opinion of the same author. I've wanted to read A Manual for Cleaning Women for a while but I have a har [...]

  4. This is a stunning story collection. I want to read everything she's written. I know there's a new collection (posthumous) with a Foreword by Lydia Davis (A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories). There's some overlap between this collection and the new one, but many other stories. Incredible writing by a long-overlooked writer.

  5. I'm still reading these stories but about six stories in, I had to post a 5-star review for this talented yet unknown (to me) writer. I was wandering aisles in the bookstore when I saw the collection, picked it up to browse, and was immediately hooked. Berlin ranks with the top of today's short story writers for her lovely prose, interesting characters, attention to unique details.

  6. In this, Berlin's second to last collection while she was alive, she tells tales from all over. Most of the best ones ended up in A Manual for Cleaning Women. But I decided I'd read the rest of the works that appear here so as to get a sense of her other ouevre."Luna Nueva" involves a pool in Mexico, where people go to the beach to sunbathe and to feel the water on their skin. There's a kind of miraculous feel to this water, reviving people."Sombra" is one of Berlin's better stories and one of t [...]

  7. Many of these stories have appeared in the New Yorker but were worth re reading. Berlin is such an extraordinarily generous writer. Some stories center around her dying sister, their newfound closeness and resolution of old hurts, memories. Berlin lived an adventurous, often fearlessly messy life. These stories reflect a life with several permutations. Berlin worked as a cleaning woman, a doctor's assistant, and many other low paying jobs while taking care of four young children and writing when [...]

  8. God bless Black Sparrow for finally putting these collections back into print (and on Kindle!). As wonderful as A Manual For Cleaning Women is (fifteen of the twenty-three stories here are also collected in that volume), it's reassuring to know that, at least for now, the vast majority of Berlin's work is widely available.

  9. This is a beautiful story collection. She tells tales from all over.It jumps from the Alaskan mining town of her youth, to the coast of Mexico with her dying sister, to Santiago, Chile, and modern-day Oakland where she fights her alcoholism while raising young children. An interesting read.

  10. What if we don't, as Didion suggests, tell ourselves stories in order to live? But, in fact, live life through our stories. The gap between these two seems slight, but I think these stories dwell in that space.It is clear as light on water that Berlin's writing is autobiographical to the marrow, but when a life is so full and so multifaceted, this is no limitation at all.These stories do not unfold so much as narratives, but instead as unspooling webs of memory and emotion, dipping in out of dif [...]

  11. I can't believe I didn't know Lucia Berlin until just now. Her writing is phenomenal. her short stories piercing. I literally had to take deep breaths after finishing each one .you're so transported by her writing and then snapped right out of a world that you need to pause and catch your breath. Wow! I want to read everything she's ever written.

  12. This collection has some of the same stories I've read in her other books but that's alright bc they are just as good the second time around. Her writing is lovely, some of the stories are heartbreaking.

  13. I was not sure of what to think of this collection. Then I read Guttersnipe Das' review/plea for more acknowledgement of Berlin, and now I appreciate her talent. Can't wait for the "new" collection.

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