Gina Berriault is known for the complexity and compassion with which she weaves her characters, and her stories are such models of economy that they seem almost telepathic. In this reissue of her collected stories—twenty years after its first publication—with a new introduction by renowned author and devoted Berriault advocate Peter Orner—we see the deft hand of this well-loved master of the short story at its best.
Berriault employs her vital sensibility—sometimes subtly ironic and sometimes achingly raw—to touch on the inevitability of suffering and the nature of individuality, daring to see into the essence of our predicaments. What moves us? What dictates our behavior? What alters us? Her writing is spare, evanescent, pulsing with life and shimmering with life’s strange hope. Her stories illustrate the depth of her emotional understanding.
“Half the women in the world are right now in bed, theirs or somebody else’s, whether it’s night or day, whether they want to be or not . . .” With Women in Their Beds, Berriault’s prose— moving, honest, and wise—achieves a mastery of the short story form that was in evidence every step of her long career. She was a completely modern writer, blessed with an exquisite sense of the potency of words and the ability to create moments of empathy that are both disturbing and mysteriously amusing.