ENORMOUS CHANGES AT THE LAST MINUTE by Grace Paley
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ENORMOUS CHANGES AT THE LAST MINUTE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

As Faith, a reappearing character (most probably the author) in some of these pieces says at one point: ""My vocabulary is adequate for writing notes and keeping journals but absolutely useless for an active moral life."" Overlooking the second half of this sentence even if its unexpectedness and humor makes it hard to do so, you will get some idea of the Paley style, so very much her own, a kind of impromptu note-taking which always suggests far more than is said since ""Everyone, real or invented, deserves the open destiny of life."" The stories, if that's what they are, are equally consanguineous -- dealing with what lies behind you (parents -- first or second generation, Jewish, Irish, black) or around you on city sidewalks or playgrounds, in the houses of one's childhood, or the institutions of one's old age. Say The Children of Judea in Coney Island where ""Faith in the Afternoon"" goes to see her mother and father, or a hospital where just a father lies dying protesting, regretting the changes that are to be seen even in the face of his daughter. Read the title story or ""Faith in a Tree"" or the marvelous urban folk tale ""Gloomy Tune"" -- read the book. Mrs. Paley has many admirers and her first collection The Little Disturbances of Man (1959 -- republished a decade later) outwitted the mortality of the genre. Her attuned, engaging talent is lighter than air skimming surfaces of life that we remember here, recognize there and respond to at all times.

Pub Date: March 11th, 1974
ISBN: 0374515247
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux