In 2015, a decade after her death, Lucia Berlin became celebrated as a great American short-story writer with the publication of A Manual for Cleaning Women. A female writer underappreciated in her lifetime, supporting herself and four sons through a series of menial jobs, she had a life that now seems particularly relevant. Evening in Paradise is a further selection of twenty-two previously uncollected stories that often illuminate the more mundane and seedier corners of Berlin’s multifaceted, imperfect life.
Her childhood in Texas during the Second World War, the glamour of Chilean high society, early marriage to a sculptor in New Mexico and the hip New York jazz scene of the 1960s are all clearly reflected in the voices of her intimate, chatty narrators. In some stories Berlin uses