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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 it impact the way you read the stories knowing that the author had died? How about the fact that although not necessarily autobiographical the stories were "close enough for horseshoes"?

Created: 11/04/19

Replies: 17

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

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2143

Did it impact the way you read the stories knowing that the author had died? How about the fact that although not necessarily autobiographical the stories were "close enough for horseshoes"?

Did it impact the way you read the stories knowing that the author had died? How about the fact that although not necessarily autobiographical the stories were "close enough for horseshoes"?


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

Join Date: 08/10/17

Posts: 143

RE: Did it impact the way you read the stories knowing that the author had died? How about the fact that although not necessarily autobiographical the stories were "close enough for horseshoes"?

The autobiographical aspect is a bit distracting because I get to wondering how much is real and how much is not. It takes my mind off the actual story.


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

Join Date: 11/30/19

Posts: 25

RE: Did it impact the way you read the stories knowing that the author had died? How about the fact that although not necessarily autobiographical the stories were "close enough for horseshoes"?

I was drawn to this book because I truly loved A Manual for Cleaning Women and had never read anything quite like it before. (I listened to the audio.) As I delved into Berlin’s brief life I was struck by how she incorporated her story into her writing. She has done this again here. Her early death means there will be no more treasures from her.


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

Join Date: 05/14/11

Posts: 89

RE: Did it impact the way you read the stories knowing that the author had died? How about the fact that although not necessarily autobiographical the stories were "close enough for horseshoes"?

I don't think knowing a writer is alive or dead makes very much difference if the storytelling is good.


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

Join Date: 07/14/12

Posts: 44

RE: Did it impact the way you read the stories knowing that the author had died? How about the fact that although not necessarily autobiographical the stories were "close enough for horseshoes"?

Absolutely! The possible autobiographical details were always in my mind. It made me want to learn more about her. And the fact her son Mark died only a year after her opened more questions.


Posted Dec. 03, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
MarieA

Join Date: 10/12/11

Posts: 237

RE: Did it impact the way you read the stories knowing that the author had died? How about the fact that although not necessarily autobiographical the stories were "close enough for horseshoes"?

Knowing that Berlin is dead did not impact my reading the stories. I think she often incorporated her own experiences in her writing which supports the fact that we write best about that which we know or have known.


Posted Dec. 03, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joanr

Join Date: 04/25/12

Posts: 41

RE: Did it impact the way you read the stories knowing that the author had died? How about the fact that although not necessarily autobiographical the stories were "close enough for horseshoes"?

Knowing that Berlin had died (and having read the Note about her life before reading the stories) very much impacted me. That the stories were "close enough for horseshoes" in describing aspects of her life caused me to marvel at how she was able to transform so many difficult elements into something transformative and beautiful with her stories.


Posted Dec. 03, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
scgirl

Join Date: 06/05/18

Posts: 118

RE: Did it impact the way you read the stories knowing that the author had died? How about the fact that although not necessarily autobiographical the stories were "close enough for horseshoes"?

No, I would would it did not. The autobiographical aspect of the stories is compelling and as peggyt said above, in a way it was distracting because I wanted to know what was real and what was not.


Posted Dec. 03, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
katherinep

Join Date: 07/16/14

Posts: 220

RE: Did it impact the way you read the stories knowing that the author had died? How about the fact that although not necessarily autobiographical the stories were "close enough for horseshoes"?

Not really, although I wondered where fiction ended and non-fiction began. I did look up her sons after reading the book to see how they fared--could not find much although in one place Jeff talked about Mark and how he struggled through his life, though without details


Posted Dec. 03, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
josephinej

Join Date: 05/11/15

Posts: 72

RE: Did it impact the way you read the stories knowing that the author had died? How about the fact that although not necessarily autobiographical the stories were "close enough for horseshoes"?

The author being alive or dead is only one interesting fact, and (I believe) didn't have an impact on how I read the stories. I did wish I knew what year each was written, however. And because of the sameness of many of the character's name, I couldn't help but read them a bit as memoir as opposed to fiction.


Posted Dec. 09, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
juliaa

Join Date: 12/03/11

Posts: 215

RE: Did it impact the way you read the stories knowing that the author had died? How about the fact that although not necessarily autobiographical the stories were "close enough for horseshoes"?

The fact that the author had died had no impact on my reading the stories. The quasi-autobiographical details did make me wonder which ones were "true," and which were made up as things that could have happened to Berlin but didn't, so she gave those elements to the characters. What did have an impact on me was wondering how it was that, until now, I had never read Berlin's stories despite having taken two courses on "the short story" during the years she was writing. I am pleased that the stores have been reissued, and that I received a copy, so that I could finally read this excellent author.


Posted Dec. 09, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
xandrabk

Join Date: 04/16/19

Posts: 24

RE: Did it impact the way you read the stories knowing that the author had died? How about the fact that although not necessarily autobiographical the stories were "close enough for horseshoes"?

Honestly, I think knowing that the author had died impacted the way I read the stories. There was a bit of a depressing or dark theme that was more pronounced because I knew about not only her death but her son's as well.


Posted Dec. 09, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dorinned

Join Date: 10/13/14

Posts: 103

RE: Did it impact the way you read the stories knowing that the author had died? How about the fact that although not necessarily autobiographical the stories were "close enough for horseshoes"?

I do not think the fact that the author died impacted my reading of the stories at all. After reading about the author's life, I felt that the stories, while they may not have been autobiographical, were closely drawn on the aspects of the author's own life.


Posted Dec. 10, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kimk

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 403

RE: Did it impact the way you read the stories knowing that the author had died? How about the fact that although not necessarily autobiographical the stories were "close enough for horseshoes"?

It did impact the way I read the stories. It made me sad to know that such a talented writer wouldn't be around to produce more works. There was the sense of "this is all there is," much more so than if the author was still alive and might someday produce additional stories. I also felt deprived of the opportunity to ask the author questions about her writing and about specific stories.


Posted Dec. 12, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dianaps

Join Date: 05/29/15

Posts: 422

RE: Did it impact the way you read the stories knowing that the author had died? How about the fact that although not necessarily autobiographical the stories were "close enough for horseshoes"?

I read dead people all the time.


Posted Dec. 16, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Marcia S

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 275

RE: Did it impact the way you read the stories knowing that the author had died? How about the fact that although not necessarily autobiographical the stories were "close enough for horseshoes"?

I did wonder which of the stories revealed real experiences from her life, but knowing she'd passed did not influence how I regarded the book.


Posted Dec. 26, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jennie r

Join Date: 08/06/17

Posts: 39

RE: Did it impact the way you read the stories knowing that the author had died? How about the fact that although not necessarily autobiographical the stories were "close enough for horseshoes"?

Knowing the author was dead didn’t have an impact on my reading. The fact that it was close to autobiographical was intriguing; I like the idea of embellishing the stories of a life to create a better experience for the reader.


Posted Jan. 23, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Elizabeth Marie

Join Date: 05/26/18

Posts: 51

RE: Did it impact the way you read the stories knowing that the author had died? How about the fact that although not necessarily autobiographical the stories were "close enough for horseshoes"?

Knowing the author was dead did not impact the way I read her stories. I did wonder as I read, which experiences and characters were based on Berlin’s own life.


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