Mar 28, 2017

a manual for cleaning women, in review

lucia berlin writes well. almost too well. her prose is descriptive, the imagery is fragrant, concrete, but repetitive. is all writing that isn't fantastical eventually autobiographical? or maybe there is no exception.

this book of short stories is like reading Lucia's autobiography, told in bits through many lenses but ultimately it's the same voice, the same rhetoric, the same scene again and again.

a sister dying of cancer, oakland, alcoholism, beautiful dark Mexican men, exotic waters and fragrances, the slow march of time, deep tight human connections that end, always, tragically.

it's too much lucia, too much closeness, by the end you're suffocating in the dismal regret that she claims not to feel, not to have.  her prose is loneliness, self-reflection and suicide, played out in characters that are really mirrors of her own life.

will it stick with me? yes but in a hazy constellation of melded autobiographical prose.

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