I'm interested in generational relations
I'm interested in how people live at this
particular moment in time and history.
Grace Paley (Interview with Kathleen Hulley 36)
An American born of Jewish Russian parents, Grace Paley writes with an acute sense of her place in history, which has led her to engage actively with contemporary issues through political action as well as in her artistic work. Her voice resonates through her short stories as a sustaining strength amid “little disturbances” and “enormous changes” alike—a paradox in a work where showing prevails over telling. Indeed, even in dialogues leaving apparently little room for authorial comments, a sense of voice is created by the somewhat systematic juxtaposition of contrasting elements. As Ronald Schleifer aptly observes:
[T]he play of voices in Paley’s stories offers what could be called, following Socrates and Kierkegaard, the maieutic function of discourse, the role of the midwife in the dialectic of (in Paley’s words) “two...