This remarkable collection received the National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the Rea Award for the Short Story, a gold medal from the Commonwealth Club of California, and the Bay Area Book Reviewers Award.
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Gina Berriault has been publishing short stories and novels for more than 30 years. For most of this time, she's suffered the mixed blessing of being a "writer's writer"--somebody with a fanatic following within the literary community and near invisibility outside of it. With Women in Their Beds, however, Berriault seems finally to be receiving the recognition she's always deserved. The book--a greatest hits collection that includes nine new stories--has already won the National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award, and the Rea Foundation Prize. Lyrical, concise, and stubbornly resistant to secondhand wisdom, these stories are (in the words of Richard Ford) "nonpareil [and] just simply wonderful."From Publishers Weekly:
Whether focusing on yuppies or drifters, social workers or Indian restaurateurs, heroin addicts or teenage baby-sitters, Berriault (The Lights of Earth) writes with great psychological acuity and a compassion that comes always from observation, never from sentimentality. These 35 short stories have been published in magazines ranging from the Paris Review to Harper's Bazaar; 10 of them are here issued in book form for the first time. In "Who Is It Can Tell Me Who I Am?" the dapper Alberto Perera, "a librarian who did not look like one," fears that the young drifter who has befriended him, wishing to discuss the Spanish poetry he carries in his pockets, is out to kill him; but the drifter is only trying to understand how?both literally and philosophically?to live. A 79-year-old psychologist woos a young, pragmatic waitress in "The Infinite Passion of Expectation." When she meets his ex-wife and witnesses the selfishness spawned by a life spent in deferment, she flees. In the clever "The Search for J. Kruper," an extremely famous and narcissistic novelist, noted for writing grand, poorly disguised autobiographical confessions, learns of the possible whereabouts of one of the few remaining living novelists as famous as he, a recluse who betrays nothing of himself in his writings. Each story is constructed so gracefully that it's easy to overlook how carefully crafted Berriault's writing is. Her lilting, musical prose adds a sophisticated sheen to the truths she mines.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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