Set mainly in Los Angeles, Lucia Berlin’s gritty working-class stories bridge the gap between the Americas—rich and poor, North and South, Anglo and Hispanic. While her style has been compared to Raymond Carver’s, and her dream- and drink-addicted characters to Richard Yates’, her fictional territory and fatalistic humor are hers alone.
Berlin’s literary model is Chekhov, but there are extra-literary models too, including the extended jazz solo, with its surges, convolutions, and asides. This is writing of a very high order.
—August Kleinzahler, London Review of Books
This remarkable collection occasionally put me in mind of Annie Proulx’s Accordion Crimes, with its sweep of American origins and places. Berlin is our Scheherazade, continually surprising her readers with a startling variety of voices, vividly drawn characters, and settings alive with sight and sound.
—Barbara Barnard, American Book Review