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Welcome Home

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  114 ratings  ·  42 reviews
A compilation of sketches, photographs, and letters, Welcome Home is an essential nonfiction companion to the stories by Lucia Berlin.

Before Lucia Berlin died, she was working on a book of previously unpublished autobiographical sketches called Welcome Home. The work consisted of more than twenty chapters that started in 1936 in Alaska and ended (prematurely) in 1966 in so
Hardcover, 162 pages
Published November 6th 2018 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published November 1st 2018)
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Jon(athan) Nakapalau
This was such a wonderful examination of a life that ebbed with vitality and creative curiosity. Lucia Berlin marches to the beat of her own drum and never tries to blame where the marching takes her on anyone. It is so rare to find such honesty and stoic acceptance of both the good and the bad; to be able to observe yourself in the context of the here and now objectively. The pictures add to the feeling that you are 'conversing' with the author. The second part of the book includes letters that ...more
Nov 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you're familiar with Lucia Berlin's short stories (collected in A Manual for Cleaning Women) this book will add a new perspective to familiar territory. Half of the book is an unfinished memoir, taking us from the author's peripatetic childhood to marriage and motherhood in her bohemian mid-thirties. Family snapshots accompany the text. The second half is made up of her wild, chatty letters covering the same period. She would live for another forty years so part of her life still remains myst ...more
Kasa Cotugno
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Welcome Home is an unfinished autobiography, which Lucia Berlin was working on but never had a chance to finish. Much of this material is familiar to me since I recently read Evening in Paradise, a linked series of short stories, fictionalized accounts of her life which covered much of the same ground. What Berlin did best was write about what she knew, and reading this in conjunction with her fantasized version of the same events, gives an original portrait of this fascinating woman who should ...more
Karen Auvinen
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Reading this book was like sitting with Lucia, who was my mentor, at her kitchen table in flat near the Boulder foothills. The first half of the book--impressions of the places she lived ---is beautifully rendered in Lucia's evocative, minimalist style. I could hear her voice in the passages--so funny and delicate and devilish. Honestly, this book made me miss her all over again. Lucia was a force of nature and lived a rich and tumultuous life as these pages testify. The second half--the letters ...more
Nov 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those with an appreciation of fun-house mirrors
Shelves: new, vacationreads
More refractions, refractions on refractions...the first half of this desperately thin tome is the beginnings of a memoir, in which Berlin sketches the places in which she has lived, ending on the road, in Chiapas, in the mid-1960's. Many of the passages are repeated word for word in her short stories. The remainder of the book is a selection of her letters, mainly to Edward and Helene Dorn, which forms another narration, more ingenuous and guarded, of some of the same materials. The most honest ...more
Nov 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I received an advanced readers copy of this book as part of Goodreads Giveaway. Thank you Farrar, Straus and Giroux for sending it my way.

It was a solid read. I especially enjoyed the diary entries written by Lucia. However, I do believe that a person who is familiar with Lucia's short stories would appreciate this book more.
Nov 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was sent this book free of charge in return for an honest review. This is a quick and interesting read even if you are not familiar with the work of Lucia Berlin. She lived an unpredictable life for many years and this is reflected in her journals and letters. I was fascinated with how her lifestyle changed from what appeared to be year to year. This is also a historical perspective on different geographical locations and the culture of the times. Quite a worthwhile read and the numerous photo ...more
Erin Duffey
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Wow. I knew nothing of Lucia before my friend stayed in bed for 3 hours, fell asleep and woke up to my ringing her doorbell. Loved learning about her life before reading her stories. Fantastic
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways, biography
This little book was wonderful! I am already a fan of Berlin's writing style, having read excerpts of her previous short story collections; I will definitely be seeking out more in the future. This collection was a bit disjointed, but that is to be expected as it was published posthumously. The inclusion of photographs made it that much more special and personal. Highly recommended for current (and future!) Fans of Lucia Berlin.
Amanda Bannister
Christmas present from my daughter 💞
Dec 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received an advanced readers copy of this book as part of Goodreads Giveaway.

I hate to admit that this is the first Lucia Berlin book I've read. I can see why she's beloved. Her narration had me feeling like I was sitting at her kitchen table while she puttered around the kitchen telling me stories from her life. There was a sense that her life involved constantly looking for a home and never really finding satisfaction and yet remaining happy being unsettled. I believe this is an unfinished w
Jill Blevins
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Who doesn't want to read someone's letters, especially when those letters were written in the 1950's and 1960's by a teenager who has everything the world could give her except love, a regular family, and a steady home? It's like reading Joan Didion but without the East Coast attitude.

As someone who moved 47 times with her first husband, I was attracted to this book by the amazing amount of times the author herself has moved house. The first section of this book is of her descriptions of each of
Brooklyn Tayla
I received a copy of this book from Pan Macmillian Australia in exchange for an honest review – all thoughts are my own.
I feel like if I had known about Lucia Berlin before reading this book that I would have maybe appreciated this more, I mean, when I started reading this, not really knowing anything about the author or her books, I didn’t know what to expect, and I personally found that I felt like I was reading not so much a memoir but a string of descriptions, young Lucia parting with her fa
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I didn't know what to expect with this one. Welcome Home was pretty much a collection of pictures, recollections from an unpublished memoir(?) documenting her childhood up to her 30's, as well as letters to and from Lucia. Much like A Manual for Cleaning Women, I enjoyed this a lot. Berlin's writing style is so appealing to me because it's Kerouacian (if I may?), yet very feminine. She has a knack for saying a lot using simple words or not many words at all. Emotion and subtlety ooze from every ...more
Nov 22, 2018 rated it liked it
I wanted to love this more, and I feel like I may get more out of it after reading some more of Lucia Berlin's work. Really liked the first half of diary entries but the letters in the second half got a bit muddled and long for me. However, Berlin's wonderful writing and personality shine through. A personal favourite couple of lines was: "The last night there was sort of a nightmare which would take 40 pages to describe. Briefly, i got arrested and spent the night in jail, and the morning, unti ...more
Lorri Steinbacher
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
So interesting to describe your life through memories of the places where you lived it. That you know that it is unfinished going in doesn't make you any less hard when it does. When it left off, even though I knew I would be able to piece together what was next, I knew that it would not be in Berlin's unique voice.
A vivid and poetic evocation of place and the lifelong search for home. The brevity of the text--its diary-like form and incompleteness--coupled with the photographs give it a dreamy, mysterious feel.
Abby Byers
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Five stars for the first half! Didn’t feel great about the letters.
Dec 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
A look into Lucia Berlin's early life (to 1965) through her own writing, family photographs, and letters. There are many beautiful passages when she describes experiences and being outside, especially in the small plane that Buddy Berlin would take them up to fly during the sunsets. What a wonderful idea.
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
superfans only!
Dec 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I wish it had been longer and that she had written more during her lifetime.
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biographymemoir
I hate reading letters, but the memoir portion of this was gorgeous—full of very vivid descriptions of a world that no longer exists.
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
I won this book through the goodreads giveaways and was asked to give it a review. I feel like if you knew the author, or maybe even if you are familiar with her other books, that it might be more intriguing than I found it. There was a line in one of her letters that said “I keep beginning to end this illegible letter” and that’s kind of sums up how this book felt to me. Reading one sided letters from someone I don’t know to other people I don’t know wasn’t that interesting for me.
Abbie Joiner
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved every page of this. The pictures made it even better!
Kathy Shaw
Aug 19, 2018 rated it liked it
“Welcome Home” by Lucia Berlin reads like a journal, her thoughts and observances without frills and letters she had written to or received from friends and family from the time she was a child. I had never heard of Lucia Berlin but her life was so interesting that now I will read her short stories.
Rhonda Lomazow
Jul 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lucia Berlin shares her real life relationships her loves affairs travels accompanied by photographs.Lucia led an interesting life free of many daily conventions a true free spirit.Perfect accompaniment to her stories.
Carole Knoles
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Welcome Home is a fantastic companion book to the reading of Lucia Berlin’s stories. I wish that everyone would discover this superb writer too soon gone. Welcome Home fleshes out who this iconic author was.
Oct 19, 2018 rated it liked it
An affecting memoir from an underappreciated, great American writer. I must confess I'd not read anything of Berlin's before but intend to change that. Spare prose zeroes in on the most evocative details, sublimely capturing the impressionistic cast of memory. A particularly effective technique in the hands of someone whose life story is a nomadic journey, where sleeping arrangements, the smell of cockroach spray, the refrains of Bible shows on the radio next to the bed, the enchiladas eaten onl ...more
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
This was a book I won in a giveaway and I was very curious about this book based on the info mentioning the author had passed away and didn’t get a chance to finish the story as a whole but also I had never heard of this author. Overall, this was a unique read and I liked the personal parts such as the photographs and letters written between each other. This book confused me at many points jumping around so much but that could just be how this author writes. Like I said I have never heard of Luc ...more
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Lucia Berlin's posthumous memoir "Welcome Home" consists of an unfinished autobiographical essay and selections from her personal letters from the mid-1940s to her early married life in the early 1960's. The essay was about places she lived and was somewhat interesting to read, but the letters were rather underwhelming. In the current rush to publish and re-publish Berlin's writing (after her death in 2004), perhaps more attention should be paid to her work - her short stories, contained in the ...more
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Berlin began publishing relatively late in life, under the encouragement and sometimes tutelage of poet Ed Dorn. Her first small collection, Angels Laundromat was published in 1981, but her published stories were written as early as 1960. Several of her stories appeared in magazines such as The Atlantic and Saul Bellow’s little magazine The Noble Savage.

Berlin published six collections of short st
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