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The Collected Stories of Grace Paley

Grace Paley

8 Reviews

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Fiction, Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

Regarded as one of the finest American short story writers and admired by George Saunders, Susan Sontag and Salman Rushdie, this volume presents Paley's collected works. Published as part of a beautifully designed series to mark the 40th anniversary of the Virago Modern Classics.

'This is a collection full of energy and stunning, quiet innovation ... it spills over with contempt, raucous humour, sadness and generosity. In it, life and language are synonymous, and there is no higher praise. What a wonderful book' Ali Smith

Here are all Grace Paley's classic stories in one volume. Paley's quirky, boisterous characters and rich use of language won her readers' hearts and secured her place as one of America's most accomplished short-story writers. Her stories are united by her signature interweaving of personal and political truths, her extraordinary capacity for empathy and her pointed depiction of the small and large events that make up daily life.


'A writer like Paley comes along and brightens up language again, takes it aside and gives it a pep talk, sends it back renewed, so it can do its job, which is to wake us up' George Saunders

'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

'Grace Paley is the most intelligent, generous, incorruptible writer I ever knew' Ursula K. Le Guin

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Praise for The Collected Stories of Grace Paley

  • Grace Paley is one of the great writers of voice of the last century. There's an experience one has reading a stylist like her that has to do with how rich in truth the phrase-or-sentence-level bursts are and how quickly they follow upon one another ... A writer like Paley comes along and brightens language up again, takes it aside and gives it a pep talk, sends it back renewed, so it can do its job, which is to wake us up - George Saunders

  • These stories, brief and extended, burn with a high-energy commitment to the great work of being alive. They are stories full of the stories we all tell and live by, tall stories as well as short . . . And they are stories in which the whole of a world, its children, its dead, its furniture, its snacks, is lovingly and unsentimentally named. Named, and not forgiven. - Salman Rushdie

  • 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

  • This is a collection full of energy and stunning, quiet innovation ... it spills over with contempt, raucous humour, sadness and generosity. In it, life and language are synonymous, and there is no higher praise. What a wonderful book

  • Paley is as clever a mimic as Philip Roth, as cheerfully zany and aleatory in her vision of New York as Christina Stead, as serendipitous as Donald Bartheleme, but her unladylike gutsiness and friendliness are nonpareil - Observer

  • An understanding of loneliness, lust, selfishness and fatigue that is splendidly comic and unladylike - PHILIP ROTH

  • Largely set within the same small close-knit community in New York's Lower East Side ... ultimately what's at stake for Paley is whether to believe in the comic possibility of continuance or the tragic inevitablity of ending. Grace Paley's is an exceptiona - KASIA BODDY, GUARDIAN

  • As long as there are human beings wondering who they are, and how they can be better - looking for a more full-hearted way of being In the world - there will be readers for the great, beloved, much-missed Grace Paley.

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Grace Paley

Born in the Bronx in 1922, Grace Paley was a renowned writer and activist. Her Collected Stories was a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Her other collections include Enormous Changes at the Last Minute and Just As I Thought. She died in Vermont on August 22, 2007.

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