Other Free Encyclopedias » Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern Fiction » Books & Authors: Award-Winning Fiction (Mc-Pa)

Paley, Grace

life fine

(US, 1922– )

Paley has lived and worked in New York, the city and its multi-ethnic character being integral to her stories, which reflect her Russian-Jewish heritage as well as urban realities. Her collections are vivid and entertaining, showing her fine ear for dialogue, and often concern women trying to survive and raise children, with or without men. The Little Disturbances of Man (1959) established her reputation for sardonic observations of family life. In ‘An Interest in Life’, for instance, a deserted wife makes a list of her troubles, hoping to appear on a television show; instead, she gains a new lover, but remains haunted by her husband. The fictions in Enormous Changes at the Last Minute (1968) are generally open-ended slices of life, some informed by Paley's campaigning community politics. Others, such as ‘A Conversation with My Father’, are pure story-telling. Later the Same Day (1985) is another fine, more recent collection.

Dorothy Parker, Philip Roth  JS

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