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Evening in Paradise


"Berlin's new book is a marvel, filled with deeply touching stories about lives ...
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Discuss Evening in Paradise by Lucia Berlin:
Did you find the Buddhism concept that "life is suffering" and the Mexican attitude that "life is cheap but it sure can be fun" reflected in Berlin's work? Do you agree with either statement?

Created: 11/04/19

Replies: 2

Posted Nov. 04, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2245

Did you find the Buddhism concept that "life is suffering" and the Mexican attitude that "life is cheap but it sure can be fun" reflected in Berlin's work? Do you agree with either statement?

In the preface, Berlin's son Mark relates that they often "laughed about the first precept of Buddhism: life is suffering. And the Mexican attitude that life is cheap, but it sure can be fun." Did you find this reflected in Berlin's work? Do you agree with either statement, neither statement, or with both?


Posted Nov. 30, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
peggyt

Join Date: 08/10/17

Posts: 143

RE: Did you find the Buddhism concept that "life is suffering" and the Mexican attitude that "life is cheap but it sure can be fun" reflected in Berlin's work? Do you agree with either statement?

These ideas both showed up in the first story, “The Musical Vanity Boxes.” There can be much suffering in life but you have to enjoy what you can.


Posted Dec. 01, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Lole

Join Date: 11/30/19

Posts: 25

RE: Did you find the Buddhism concept that

I think Mark Berlin's statement is a testament to the love and care his mother provided him during what must have been a tempestuous and chaotic life. Lucia Berlin captured the drama of single scenes/moments and used painterly descriptions to fill in the details to share with her readers. Her childhood, youth in Chile, young marriages and motherhood was complicated, and she mined those experiences for her stories. While her childhood depictions are entertaining, the reality could have felt very painful for a seven year old. Better she choose to accept some level of suffering and decide that despite that, life could be fun. (At least until she was old enough to blunt the pain with alcohol.) She persevered, continuing her education while working various demanding jobs, raising four boys, conquering her alcoholism, and becoming a beloved professor. And many of her stories resonate with a sense of fun, despite human failings and grim circumstances.


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