Short fiction, long legacy. #myfriendsarereading … A Manual for Cleaning Women

My friend M.H. has been reading Lucia Berlin (nee Brown), a fascinating yet little-known American short fiction writer who has been likened to Canadian Nobel Prize for Literature winner Alice Munro.

Reader: M.H., Female, 26, lives in London
Citizenship/nationality: Swiss British
Book: A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin
Photo sent from: London, United Kingdom

Why did you pick this book, and what is it about?

This book is a collection of short stories. I picked it up at my favourite second hand book shop in Bloomsbury (Skoob) this summer. I had never heard of her but love short fiction and was curious, especially as the foreword was written by Lydia Davis, one of my all time favourite writers.


About Lucia Berlin: The Alaskan-born writer grew up in a rotation of cities around the US due to her father’s work as a mining engineer. She dealt with scoliosis at 10, long before facing further severe health issues in her adult life. Lucia Berlin led a vibrant life, which included travels to Mexico, New Mexico and the Western parts of the US. She attending balls and social gatherings, befriending the likes of Prince Aly Khan. Berlin was a creative writing teacher at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics among others. In spite of this phenomenal life, her mass success has happened posthumously. This collection was release in 2015, making the New York Times bestseller list 11 years after her passing, aged 68. She mothered four boys and married three times.

The Skoob bookshop currently has a 20% student discount. Support your local bookshops and libraries! 

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