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Lucia Berlin Books In Order

Publication Order of Short Stories

The Musical Vanity Boxes (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Short Story Collections

A Manual for Cleaning Women (1977) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Angel's Laundromat (1981) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Phantom Pain (1984) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Safe & Sound (1989) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Homesick (1991) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
So Long (1993) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Where I Live Now (1999) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle


Lucia Berlin was one of the well known American author and short story writer, who has written a number successful novels based on a variety of genres. She was born on November 12, 1936 in Juneau, Alaska and died on November 12, 2004 in Marina del Rey, California at the age of 68. During her time as a writer, Lucia did not have much audience to read her writings and had just a small and devoted following of a few readers. However, she rose to her due literary fame after 11 years of her death in the year 2015 when Stephen Emerson edited certain volumes of her short stories and published them as ‘A Manual For Cleaning Women’ with the help of Farrar, Straus, and Giroux publication. The novel went on to become a bestseller in The New York Times in only its second week and helped author Lucia Brown Berlin to be recognized for her hard work during her writing career, posthumously. Within a period of a few weeks, the novel outsold the combined collection of all her previous books. Even though it was not eligible for the literary awards because of being recollected and re-edited, it was named in many prestigious lists of the year, including the ‘Ten Best Books of the Year 2015′.

The novel also went on to become a finalist in the race for the Kirkus Prize. Throughout her writing career, Lucia Berlin has published a total of 77 short stories, most of which were collected in 3 different volumes during the years 1991, 1993, and 1999. They were recollected from their previous publications in the years 1980, 1984, and 1987, and were re-released as her newer works. The initial publication of her short stories started when she was 2 years old. At that time, Lucia used to publish in the journal of Saul Bellow, The Noble Savage and also in The New Strand. As the years passed, her novels began getting published a number of other journals and many smaller magazines like the Atlantic Monthly, the New American Writing, etc. One of the short stories written by author Lucia titled Homesick had also won a Book Award. With her sheer dedication and determination towards her writing works, author Lucia used to work brilliantly throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and through most of the years of the 1980s. During the late 1980s, all the 4 sons of Lucia had grown fully and she had also become successful in overcoming her lifelong addiction of alcohols. As a result, she was able to give up her sporadic style of writing and became extremely productive with her writings till the time of her death.

Many of the written works of Lucia in her early days were full of stories about the horrors and occasional hilarity of alcoholism, which she had written based on her own personal experience. Author Lucia was born in Juneau, Alaska. Her father used to work as a mining engineer due to which her early days were spent in roaming around the mining camps in the towns of Kentucky, Idaho, and Montana. Soon, Lucia’s father went on to join the war in the year 1941, and Lucia was moved to El Paso along with her mother and a younger sister, where they stayed with her grandfather. After the war was over, her father decided to move to Santiago, Chile. It was here where Lucia embarked on her flamboyant existence of the next 25 years of her life. In Santiago, Lucia attended cotillions, smoked her first cigarette, completed her schooling, and worked as a hostess. She used to witness her mother retiring early with alcohol on most of the evenings. When she was 10 years old, Lucia suffered a painful spinal cord condition called Scoliosis, which became lifelong and forced her to take the support of a steel brace very often. In the year 1955, she joined the New Mexico University and became fluent in the Spanish language.

At the university, she studied with the novelist named Ramon Sender, whom she married later and gave birth to two sons. After the early death of Ramon, Lucia completed her degree in Albuquerque and met a few key figures of her life. One among them was the famous poet named Edward Dorn. She also met writer Robert Creeley, who was Dorn’s teacher, as well as a couple of his classmates named Buddy Berlin and Race Newton. Lucia got married to Race Newton in 1958. They moved to New York and became neighbors of many famous poets and artists. Soon, Lucia left Newton and married Buddy Berlin. She gave birth to 2 more sons later. However, they got divorced in the year 1968 and after that Lucia never remarried. After completing her master’s degree, Lucia began working as a substitute teacher initially and later went on to become an associate professor. Her successful career as a teacher allowed her to become one of the beloved ones at the university and also helped her to win an award for teaching excellence. During this time, Lucia had also begun writing her short stories which she continued to do till her last breath. As her health started to deteriorate in the year 2001, Lucia moved to Southern California in order to stay with her sons. Eventually, she passed away in the year 2004, in Marina del Rey due to her ill health.

One of the most successful works of author Lucia Berlin is the collection of short stories titled ‘A Manual for Cleaning Women’. This compilation is very well considered to be the best work of the author and is believed to have humor, grit, wit, and melancholy. With the help of this collection, author Lucia tried to give an account of the everyday life and uncover the moments of grace in the lives of the Laundromats as well as in the homes of upper class Bay Area, houses of the Southwest America, struggling mothers, bad Christians, hitchhikers, and switchboard operators. One of the other successful short stories written by author Lucia Berlin was titled ‘Where I Live Now’, in which she has tried to contemplate the condition of the humans with compassion and understanding. She has also tried to display her visions of remorse, courage, etc., with a compelling theme of the elusive nature of life’s happiness. Lucia has described the survivors as the marginal and excluded people of the society, who fight drug or alcohol addiction, bear emotional scars, mourn their lost dreams, suffer from the pains of loneliness, separation, and death’s fear.

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