Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Saturday, November 8, 2014

"Goodbye and Good Luck" by Grace Paley (1959)

I was very happy to learn that a Kindle edition of The Collected Stories of Grace Paley is available.  Grace Paley (1922 to 2007, born in New York City) wrote short stories and poems.  There are forty three stories in the collection and I hope to read them all and post on some.  She was descended from Russian Jews and and was steeped deeply in the stories of Issac Babel, Chekhov, Turgenav, and James Joyce.  (I base this on her Paris Review interview.) Like her friend and fellow New Yorker Hortense Calisher, Paley strongly indentified  with her Jewish ancestory.  

In posting on short stories that can be only read in a purchased collection I know the readership of my post will be very limited, in the long run I am keeping a record for myself.

"Goodbye and Good Luck" is the lead story in the collection and it is a very good one.  It is set in New York City.  The lead character and narrator is a woman, now in her mid-fifties.  The story begins when she is in her late teens.   She has just gotten a job selling tickets at a Yiddish theater.  One day a well know star spotted her in the ticket booth and told the manager he wanted to meet her. Thus begins and on and off thirty year relationship. She becomes his mistress and his "resting place".  The acute observations of the woman spare no one, including herself.  Paley did a great job of letting the woman grow old and gain a bit of wisdom.  This is a very enjoyable story.

I also read "A Woman Young and Old"

Please share your experience with Grace Paley with us.

Mel u

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just recently discovered Grace Paley and I love her. I admit, what surprised me most was how funny she is and how frank she is about sex is so many of her stories. I did not expect either. I think becuase she wrote for an earlier generation and becuase she is considered part of the cannon of short story writers.

I happy to have been so wrong. Enjoy.