Grace Paley

Whereas other authors within her age / generation thrive in expanded narratives, in highlighting history and the passage of time, Grace Paley thrives in omission, in skipping and fast-forwarding the tape recorder, and writes it without remorse. Despite the miserable state of her characters, the tone is matter-of-factly. Her stories are brief, leaving out the bulk of what's important but repeatedly tells you that one story about the war, her parents, or a joke from childhood. A story called Living revealed this last night. Maybe one of the surest ways to know an author's style is to read the shortest pieces (of which I am very fond of) since reading these is a lot like looking over their shoulder, the best perspective to note how they started the scaffolding and eventually decided to own the story with an ending. It's as if the style of writing fiction is much like the way signatures can be shortened, as long as its essence remains.

I imagine her as an eighty-year old woman who doesn't have any difficulty in her daily tasks. She opens up easily, smoking a cigarette on a table in the garden she just trimmed the day before. And she likes to dine alfresco.