Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Passing of Grace Paley

In the New York Times Margalit Fox pays tribute to Grace Paley, one of American's greatest short story writers, who died this week aged 84.

Fox notes that:
Ms. Paley’s output was modest, about four-dozen stories in three volumes ... But she attracted a devoted following and was widely praised by critics for her pitch-perfect dialogue, which managed at once to be surgically spare and almost unimaginably rich. ... Ms. Paley’s stories short on plot, and much of what happens is that nothing much happens. Affairs begin, babies are born, affairs end. But that was the point. In Ms. Paley’s best stories, the language is so immediate, the characters so authentic, that the text is propelled by an innate urgency — the kind that makes readers ask, “And then what happened?”
There are a couple of excellent interviews with Paley about the craft of writing on the website, one here and the other here.

And if you want to discover Paley's work for yourself, all her stories have been collected into one volume.


The god of bookaholics was looking down on me this evening!

I had just been chatting to Eric about Grace Paley (he blogged about her here) and both of us were saying we wanted collected stories so much but that it would probably be a while before we saw it here.

I said goodbye to him, strolled out of MPH. Saw Pay Less books with racks of second hand books in the concourse. And spotted the book immediately.

With 70% off and in mint condition!!!


Sufian said...

I like her stories. Not as edgy as Flannery O' Connor or Amy Hempel, but good nonetheless. And funny. She's funny.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recommendation!


Eric Forbes said...

Lucky you, Sharon! Grace Paley must be smiling down on us from on high!

Amir said...

The fact that I've never heard of her makes her death all the more poignant.

bibliobibuli said...

i knew her name as one of the greats but it's time for me to fill in gaps in ignorance now!

Chet said...

Sharon - I don't have my copy of Jill Krementz's The Writer's Desk nearby for reference but I think Grace Paley might be featured in the book. You have a copy of that book.

bibliobibuli said...

checked. nope. sadly.