The Collected Stories by Grace Paley Online

The Collected Stories
Title : The Collected Stories
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780374530280
Language : English
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 400

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 theThis 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.


The Collected Stories Reviews

  • Fionnuala

    This book contains three separate volumes of short stories, The Little Disturbances of Man from 1959, Enormous Changes at the Last Minute from 1974 and Later the Same Day from 1985. They were all grouped into one collection in 1994, and this edition was published in 2007, the year Grace Paley died at the age of eighty-five. The stories mostly concern a group of interconnected characters in the Bronx whose lives from early motherhood to late middle age are charted right through the collection, wh [...]

  • Dov Zeller

    I love Grace Paley. My cousin gave me this book as a gift I don't know how many years ago, and I turn to it again and again. Last night some friends were over and they wanted books to read and went through my bookshelves and practically threw books at them saying, "take this, you can keep it. Take this, you can keep it." But when I got to Grace Paley I said, "Take this, but I need it back." Even the titles of the stories couldn't get better.Goodbye and Good Luck (a classic, and one which I first [...]

  • Daniel Chaikin

    46. The Collected Stories by Grace Paleypublished: 1994format: 386 page paperbackacquired: 2006, from my neighborread: Oct 19 - Nov 7 (with something of a break from Oct 29 - Nov 3)rating: 5Selected stories from three collections: - The Little Disturbances of Man (1959) - Enormous Changes at the Last Minute (1974) - Later the Same Day (1985)It’s when trying to review a book like this, that I get a sense of how limited I am as a reviewer. There is a world of stuff to say about this book, a rich [...]

  • Larry Bassett

    There are three short story collections gathered in this single hard cover. I am going to locate my reviews in their original individual books:The Little Disturbances of Man was first published in 1959 and is reviewed at /review/showEnormous Changes at the Last Minute was first published in 1974 and is reviewed at /review/showLater the Same Day was first published in 1985 and is reviewed at /review/showAll three books receive five stars from me. Later the Same Day has, by far, the most left wing [...]

  • Andrew

    While Grace Paley's often grouped with Raymond Carver, the comparisons really aren't that many. In fact, her early stories bear few comparisons, and it's rather wonderful to see Grace Paley evolve as a writer over the course of these stories, from very much a New York Jewish-ghetto writer of the '50s a la Malamud to an '80s minimalist (without falling into the cliches that accompanied that particular literary movement). But, rather than coming off as a follower of fashion, she has the same inter [...]

  • William1

    Second reading of The Little Disturbances of Man and Enormous Changes at the Last Minute. First reading of Later the Same Day.

  • Sarah

    Spring is a great time to be reading Grace Paley. Her skittish snapshots of lives lived in (often cheerful) disarray woke my brain right out of its winter hibernation. These aren’t stories to curl up with on a cold evening, although there’s real warmth to Paley’s writing; you need all your wits about you as a reader, to get the most out of this collection. Two short sad stories from a long and happy life: A subject of childhood tells of a moment in the life of Faith, a woman who reappears [...]

  • Melissa Ward

    Grace Paley – The Collected StoriesFarrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1994The late Grace Paley was a woman filled with life and experiences bursting from every seam. The Collected Stories is praised as a finely polished group of Paley’s short stories that let the reader into the small, everyday moments of her life, however the stories did not entirely live up to their reputation. They are certainly a window into a conversation over eggs in the kitchen, or a loving moment between mother and son on t [...]

  • Shane

    This wasn't an easy book to read, as the style was very spoken-stream of consciousness, as if the various narrators were involved in a fragmented dialogue with their readers. I guess it was a new style for its time - I am not sure however that it can endure. In the end I want a story.I found some of the shorter pieces began in one place and landed somewhere completely diffferent, with new information provided just before they ended, thereby altering the traditional structure of story.The Yiddish [...]

  • Mike

    the stories are small in scale--domestic settings; blocks, neighborhood playgrounds--but she fills them with rich, aphoristic asides that are not only cosmically wise but really funny. it's interesting, for all the second-person, interiority-oriented writing, paley's stories are fundamentally social. you get to know the characters, sure, but you never really feel inside them, you only have the pleasure of sharing the room with them. the best part is that none of them are outrightly exceptional; [...]

  • Jesse

    I found the variety of styles in this weirdly hit-and-miss. When she's good, she is EXCELLENT, but when she's not excellent she's often engaged in experiments I'm not terribly interested in, or pursuing increasingly long tangents that don't engage me. I think I'd have felt differently had I listened to her reading aloud before and during the process of reading these stories, so I had her voice in my head, they wouldn't have felt quite as disconnected as they did.

  • Suzanne Conboy-Hill

    This is highly rated on and so either I am missing something or I have no taste for this style of writing. These stories are idiosyncratic, quirky, amusing, conversational, and with some surprising twists or bumps in the road at times. But they are pretty much all the same; the same voice, the same rhythm, the same bizarre ordinariness. I enjoyed the first, was amused by the second, and then read the rest until I gave up at page 149 (of 398) - I quite honestly could not see myself ploughing thr [...]

  • Michael

    I really wanted to like this. I got it sent across an ocean just so I could teach one of the stories in a class of mine. However, the story that I knew and loved was the only one that I found even readable, except for a few of the shortest 2-4 page stories. I am being literal, I could not finish the majority of even these SHORT stories. Her use of language is so bizarre, so simply not English. Occasional quirks show a window into another perspective, but these constant verbal inventions literall [...]

  • Jenna

    I can't believe it took me so long to read Grace Paley. She passes away a couple weeks ago, and having tackled just a small percentage of her work up to this point, I can truly comprehend the loss felt by the literary world. So strong, so ahead of her time. One of those writers who make you feel like you never really understood how good a sentence could be.

  • Jessica

    I've been trying to finish this book for over six months and I just couldn't do it. I had to give up even though I read more than 300 pages. The stories have fragmented plots and dialogues making them difficult to follow. I know Paley is supposed to be a revolutionary story writer in terms of her style and her ear for dialogue but I could not get into this. Not an enjoyable read.

  • Maggie

    Excellent, but not a thing to be consumed all at once. Since it's been months, I could probably dip into this again.

  • Denise E.

    I really like how George Saunders is taking up the mantle of Grace Paley these days. He called her "one of the great writers of voice of the last century" and also a "secular saint" (!) in this New Yorker review: newyorker/books/page-t. I haven't read that much of Saunders but he has this "vernacular" and "direct" way of writing sometimes that is very similar to hers. Only she's much more delicate - I think he is more overtly political and trying to push people's buttons, whereas she writes most [...]

  • Brian Clegg

    A while ago on Facebook some of my friends with far more experience in good fiction than me were enthusing over the short story writing of Grace Paley, so I determined to give her writing a go. I'm glad I did - but, if I'm honest, the stories just don't work for me and I gave up about two thirds of the way through. I had two problems with these mostly short short stories set in a seedy period New York (contemporary when written) - the style and the content.The style problems were a mix of langua [...]

  • Matt Hlinak

    The most distinctive story in this collection is “A Man Told Me the Story of His Life.” Although the title and first two words of the story are told by an unidentified narrator, the rest of the piece is presented in the voice of Vicente. Paley’s use of diction conveys information about the character that goes beyond what we learn from his narrative. The manner of Vicente’s speech makes it clear that English is not his first language. It is at times overly formal, such as when he proclaim [...]

  • Dan Shurley

    Grace Paley's Faith putting her curvilinear shoulder to the wheel, leafleting, child-bearing. The truth bubbles up from these incomplete, tantalizing accounts of this and that. It floats up lighter than the base materials that ground a life and it is of them too. Paley's aching, floating truths are situated in the deli sandwich realm, where one smiles a burned-over zen smile or one doesn't smile at all as one takes one's change.“Of course, because of this planet, which is dropping away from us [...]

  • jesse

    Oh, as time went on, as our responsibilities increased, we didn't go in need. You took adaquate financial care, I reminded him. The children went to camp four weeks a year and in decent ponchos with sleeping bags and boots, just like everyone else. They looked very nice. Our place was warm in winter, and we had nice red pillows and things.I wanted a sailboat, he said. But you didn't want anything.Don't be bitter, I said. It's never too late.No, he said with a great deal of bitterness. I may get [...]

  • Saxon

    Paley's stories revolve around the everyday lives of everyday people with a focus on women and yiddish culture in NYC. While she only wrote short stories, reoccurring characters constantly appear adding a level of cohesive continuity with each each story. Almost all of the stories take place around World War 2 and after all the way up to the mid 60s leading to socio-political themes that undercut each piece. However, this isn't Paley's MO. She's interested in the real lives of real people and na [...]

  • Julia

    Paley has an incredible wit and a talent for expressing the complex political nature of women's lives. I loved her stories because they are simultaneously hysterical and sad, kind of like life in general. My favorite book growing up was A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and I think I like Paley because she resonates with me in the same way as ATGIB did, only I've grown up since then and Paley reflects this process of maturation. They both tell the story of "old New York," from the 1930s, to the 1970s, on [...]

  • Mark

    A fantastic collection of stories, full of voices, humans, people. interconnected by a handful of recurring characters, preeminently Faith, an author surrogate i suppose but also an intelligent, political, loving single mother finding her way from moderately young womanhood through to middle age in new york city and life. the collection includes all three of paley's books of stories, spanning 35 years or so of writing and maybe a similar span in the lives of the characters.

  • Vonetta

    Did I read every story in this book? No. You know why? Because I couldn't stomach the goodness any longer. Really. I, in all honesty, need to let what I did read soak in real good before I continue. If I may use the vernacular: Paley is messed up. These stories are messed the hell up in the most wonderful kinds of ways: characters, dialogue, ridiculous plots. I need to swallow down some other works before I can continue, but I'm excited to pick this book back up soon.

  • Ted Krever

    Grace Paley tells wonderful stories that leave you in the middle, wondering what the hell happened. For a writer, she's the master class in what to say and what to withhold. And such a voice! The Bronx births great storytellers and she's one of the best.

  • Jack

    Wow. I had no idea Grace Paley was so compelling. I'd always heard her name tossed around Alice Munro's and thought they had a similar in prose style. But they don't. I particularly like her short shorts - puzzling and fireworky, slightly off-putting.

  • First Second Books

    She's a magician. She does things with the English language that I can't explain, but they're transporting and haunting and they color your life for days after reading them.

  • Anina

    I just love about 1/3 of her stuff and am baffled by the rest of it.

  • Gary

    I only read An Interest in Life. Snappy, creative, terse, real, slice of life very well written.