Books by Grace Paley

Released: April 18, 2017

"Think of the pieces here as a series of scale models that together encapsulate Paley's generous sensibility."
Has there ever been an author like Paley? Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 1, 2000

"general instruction by poetic example."
While this volume of Paley's poetry contains new, unpublished work, it might well be termed a retrospective insofar as it Read full book review >
JUST AS I THOUGHT by Grace Paley
Released: April 1, 1998

The inimitable Paley has already given us her Collected Stories (1994); now we get a collection of nonfiction, drawn from the past 30 years. The 50 essays, articles, interviews, and talks that make up this collection take Paley from her Bronx childhood, as the daughter of Russian-Jewish socialists, in the 1920s and '40s to her current role as an elder stateswoman of the American literary left. Although she claims for the book a strong focus on the dark days of the 1950s (the cloud of the Red Scare hangs in the background of much of the book), it might be argued more convincingly that this is a volume with its feet firmly planted in the 1960s, the decade in which Paley's political activism began its fullest flowering and a decade whose legacy of nonviolent activism is clearly brought to fruition in her subsequent antinuclear, feminist, and antiwar activities. Paley reflects on her life experiences—ranging from work at a series of uninspiring day jobs to abortion, from being arrested at peace marches to sharing thoughts with comrade sisters like Kay Boyle and Barbara Deming—with the same feisty spiritedness and wry, dark humor that characterize her best fiction. She has an unerring ear for the way people speak on the New York streets and a luminous, humane warmth that animates her writing with its generosity. Some of the Vietnam-era political pieces feel a trifle dated, and some might accuse Paley of political naivetÇ, but that is a refreshing change from the ugly cynicism of many of her opponents. A book to be dipped into repeatedly, if not read cover-to-cover, but a fine companion to Paley's memorable fictions. Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 1994

Grace Paley hasn't written much, but the stories she has written are gems, and all of them (from The Little Disturbances of Man; Enormous Changes at the Last Minute; and Later the Same Day) are collected here. The narrator speaking at the end of one story, ``Wants,'' demonstrates the virtues of Paley's prose: ``I wanted to have been married forever to one person, my ex-husband or my present one. Either has enough character for a whole life, which as it turns out is really not such a long time. You couldn't exhaust either man's qualities or get under the rock of his reasons in one short life.'' Paley writes with a declarative elegance all her own, and her best characters display a dogged courage to be confused and curious about their lives. Read full book review >