Lucia Berlin

Lucia Berlin

I’ve been thinking a lot since reading these two books about the question of the ruined woman, and about the female artist who spends her career examining her own abjection, because her fear that everyone will see her shame is less than her fear that no one can see her at all. Berlin seems to be one of these, and she is a master at capturing women in states of disintegration: those who are being damaged, physically or emotionally, by men; those who are immersed in scandal or disdained by society; and those who are intentionally self-destructing. Her oeuvre contains, among lots of other things, a profound record of what shame, trauma, and hanging on by your fingernails looked like on a particular woman—or a particular kind of woman—half a century ago.

The Atlantic

Lucia Berlin (1936-2004) publiceerde in haar leven 76 korte verhalen. In 2015 werd Berlin wereldwijd herontdekt: Handleiding voor poetsvrouwen bestormde de bestsellerlijst van The New York Times en werd in Spanje uitgeroepen tot Boek van het Jaar door El País. Berlin trouwde en scheidde drie keer en kreeg vier zoons. Ze werkte als middelbareschooldocent, poetsvrouw, telefoniste en doktersassistente, terwijl ze haar zoons grootbracht, schreef, stevig dronk en uiteindelijk haar alcoholverslaving wist te overwinnen.