Conversations with Grace Paley
Author: Grace Paley
Editors: Gerhard Bach and Blaine Hall
Publisher: University Press of Mississippi (1997)
Grace Paley's contribution to American literature, while comparatively small in volume, has been substantial in impact. With a voice very much her own, Paley has been a critical force in post-World War II American culture, particularly at its controversial centers. With The Little Disturbances of Man, Later the Same Day, and Enormous Changes at the Last Minute Paley attracted a significant and admiring following. In this collection of interviews from 1978 to 1995 Paley elaborates on the many forces that have influenced her and her writing. In these conversations she reveals not only her triple lives as writer, mother, and political activist but also her perspectives which over the years have become precise and solid.
With authority, distinctness, and relentless honesty she speaks out on contemporary issues. She discusses American conditions at large, particularly those that are being neglected or denied. With firm authority Paley discusses topics of wide range, many of which she describes as personal discoveries. She includes politics and environmentalism, the family and human relationships, the impact of background and education, the moral importance of community, feminism and women's liberation, the sexual self and role enforcement, America's need for communality and women's creative response to it, the art of teaching, and the importance of friendship. Paley's conversations, like her writings, are refreshingly candid and radically different from the contemporary American mainstream.