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Women In Their Beds: Thirty-Five Stories

Collected Stories

List Price: $16.95

October 10, 2017 | Paperback | 5.5 x 8.25, 352 pages | ISBN 9781619029613
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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.

GINA BERRIAULT was the author of four novels, three short story collections, and several screenplays. One of the most celebrated short story writers in her lifetime, she was the recipient of multiple prestigious awards, including the PEN/Faulkner Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Rea Award for the Short Story, and a Commonwealth Gold Medal for Literature. She died in 1999.


“While it may seem a lot to ask of some short stories, Women in Their Beds could conceivably vindicate the
art . . . Berriault writes real fiction . . . She deepens reality, complements it and affords us the bliss of knowing, for a moment, what we cannot know.” —The Nation

“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.” —Publishers Weekly

“Babitz was living proof that rock-and-roll decadence also could be elegant and that muses could be the sharpest tacks in the room. Her writing was so lush and so arch—so sexy and so smart—that she made you believe lush and arch were not mutually exclusive . . . Only Eve could inspire you to buy seven caftans and all the ingredients of a tequila sunrise after reading only ten pages of her books. (Cocaine and caviar were optional.)” —Signature Reads

“It may seem like overstatement to call Gina Berriault’s Women in Their Beds a masterpiece, but that’s what it is: An array of narratives that work individually and in conjunction with one another to offer a portrait of the artist as an original, astute in her observations and nuanced in her language and construction, writing according to no rules but her own . . . What Berriault is after is to work the tightrope of the particular, writing stories that take place between the lines . . . For Berriault, the most essential narratives are those that reflect the complexities of living, in which there is hope, yes, although it does not necessarily lead anywhere . . . Berriault makes the story less an instrument of action than of suspension, in which we are caught between what we have and what we will never have, between our obligations and our desires.” —David Ulin, Alta

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