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The Collected Stories

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This reissue of Grace Paley?s classic collection?a finalist for the National Book Award?demonstrates her rich use of language as well as her extraordinary insight into and compassion for her characters, moving from the hilarious to the tragic and back again. Whether writing about the love (and conflict) between parents and children or between husband and wife, or about the struggles of aging single mothers or disheartened political organizers to make sense of the world, she brings the same unerring ear for the ...

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The Collected Stories

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This reissue of Grace Paley’s classic collection—a finalist for the National Book Award—demonstrates her rich use of language as well as her extraordinary insight into and compassion for her characters, moving from the hilarious to the tragic and back again. Whether writing about the love (and conflict) between parents and children or between husband and wife, or about the struggles of aging single mothers or disheartened political organizers to make sense of the world, she brings the same unerring ear for the rhythm of life as it is actually lived.


The Collected Stories is a 1994 National Book Award Finalist for Fiction.

Here are all of Grace Paley's classic stories collected in one volume, from her first book The Little Disturbances of Man, published in 1959, to Enormous Changes at the Last Minute (1974), and Later the Same Day (1985).

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Grace Paley makes me weep and laugh—and admire. She is that rare kind of writer, a natural, with a voice like no one else's: funny, sad, lean, modest, energetic, acute." —Susan Sontag

"A solid and vital fictional world, cross-referenced and dense with life." —Walter Clemons, Newsweek

"I can't think of another writer who captures the itch of the city, the love between parents and children, or the cutting edge of combat, as well." —Lis Harris, The New York Times Book Review

Library Journal
This collection brings together Paley's three previous volumes of stories: The Little Disturbances of Man (1959; Penguin, 1985. reprint), Enormous Changes at the Last Minute (Farrar, 1974), and Later the Same Day ( LJ 1/86). Paley's inventive style and her funny, feisty, irreverent characters create vivid slices of life. Her stories often concern women coping with children alone, as in ``An Interest in Life,'' where a woman has an affair after her husband deserts her. A continuing character, Faith, is a divorced woman with children who gets her emotional support from her women friends. In ``Faith in a Tree,'' Faith's interests expand to include politics after she witnesses an antiwar demonstration in the park. In ``A Conversation with My Father,'' a writer explains that even a story's terrible ending is not final--the characters could still change. This possibility of hope permeates all Paley's stories, creating a rich treasury of unexpected pleasures and revealing truths. Essential.-- Patricia Ross, Westerville P.L., Ohio
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374530280
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 12/12/2006
  • Series: FSG Classics Ser.
  • Pages: 386
  • Sales rank: 182,194
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Grace Paley divides her time between New York City and Thetford Hill, Vermont.

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Table of Contents

Two Ears, Three Lucks
Goodbye and Good Luck 3
A Woman, Young and Old 14
The Pale Pink Roast 26
The Loudest Voice 34
The Contest 41
An Interest in Life 50
An Irrevocable Diameter 66
Two Short Sad Stories from a Long and Happy Life
1 The Used-Boy Raisers 81
2 A Subject of Childhood 88
In Time Which Made a Monkey of Us All 97
The Floating Truth 115
Wants 129
Debts 132
Distance 135
Faith in the Afternoon 146
Gloomy Tune 161
Living 165
Come On, Ye Sons of Art 168
Faith in a Tree 175
Samuel 195
The Burdened Man 199
Enormous Changes at the Last Minute 204
Politics 220
Northeast Playground 223
The Little Girl 226
A Conversation with My Father 232
The Immigrant Story 238
The Long-Distance Runner 242
Love 261
Dreamer in a Dead Language 265
In the Garden 284
Somewhere Else 288
Lavinia: An Old Story 298
Friends 302
At That Time, or The History of a Joke 316
Anxiety 319
In This Country, But in Another Language, My Aunt Refuses to Marry the Men Everyone Wants Her To 323
Mother 325
Ruthy and Edie 327
A Man Told Me the Story of His Life 335
The Story Hearer 337
This Is a Story about My Friend George, the Toy Inventor 346
Zagrowsky Tells 348
The Expensive Moment 365
Listening 378
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 2, 2009

    Down to earth in Greenwich Village

    Grace Paley is a woman of humor and wide perception. Her ear for the subtleties of downtown New York City life is without competition. As Isaac Singer picks up the nuances of people at the 42nd St. Automat, so Grace picks up the banter between characters from Jewish theater downtown. As a narrator, she is a neutral observer. If you always wanted to meet characters from the lower east side, these stories are for you.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2011

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