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The Little Disturbances of Man : Stories of Women and Men at Love (1959)

av Grace Paley

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MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
5111034,413 (3.72)42
With a sure and humorous touch, Grace Paley explores the "little disturbances" that lie behind our everyday lives. Whether writing about sexy little girls, loving and bickering couples, angry suburbanites, frustrated job-seekers, or Jewish children performing a Christmas play, she captures the loneliness, poignancy, and humor of human experience with matchless style. Book jacket.… (mer)
Senast inlagd aveerowland1, runningbeardbooks, privat bibliotek, RoseCityReader, HR_JHS, PRose0590, inpariswithyou, cortneycassidy, Arina40
Efterlämnade bibliotekRalph Ellison
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Disturbing well describes several of the stories in Grace Paley’s first published collection of short stories. More than one story involved an adult male’s physical relationship with an underage girl, and I found these stories disturbing. The stories with the most appeal for me were “The Loudest Voice”, a holiday story that explores Jewish attitudes toward the Christian traditions of Christmas, and “An Interest in Life,” about the gradual loosening of the morals of a single mother and her relationship with a married gentleman friend. I am glad to have sampled Paley’s work, but she’s not an author I’ll seek out again.
  cbl_tn | Feb 29, 2020 |
Little disturbances starts off strong with the gentle humor of "Goodbye and Good Luck,"
which I immediately read again.

Many of the women continue on happy and assertive and unexpectedly funny as in "The Contest"
which features "Jews in The News."

The title story was too predictable and others were simply sad and boring.

The sweetly titled "An Irrevocable Diameter" was otherwise shallow, followed by odd and boring
stories and ending with an idiosyncratic and scattered one featuring horrifying animal abuse. ( )
  m.belljackson | Jan 13, 2020 |
I really liked the first few stories. ( )
  Adammmmm | Sep 10, 2019 |
Many of these stories were written more than fifty years ago, yet their humor, humanity and life still literally leap off the pages to make you chuckle, wince and empathize with the various characters that populate them. And the collection's subtitle is particularly apropo - "Stories of Women and Men at Love." Not "in" love, you should note, but "at" love. Because, after reading these sharply hewn tales, you begin to suspect that Grace Paley does not put all that much stock in romance, or the kind of love that the women and men here are engaged in. The title itself, THE LITTLE DISTURBANCES OF MAN, might even indicate that man is not quite so important as he'd like to think. Indeed, that subtitle again: note that "women" come first.

Before I forget to say it: I loved these little stories. Grace Paley was not a prolific writer, producing only a few collections of stories. But she was good, damn good. She spent much of her life engaged as a political activist, marching, protesting and demonstrating. Married a couple times, with a couple of kids, writing was something she worked into the creases of her active and busy life. Perhaps the proof of this can be found here in "Two Sad Stories from a Long and Happy Life."
The first, "1. The Used-Boy Raisers," introduces us to Faith, along with her current husband, 'Pallid,' and her ex-husband, 'Livid.' Who are both hanging out in her kitchen complaining about the food, but the husbands seem to get along, to understand each other - and their names fit well. Livid needles her about another "old boyfriend Clifford," who shows up int the second sad story, "2. A Subject of Childhood." Clifford comes across as a self-absorbed creep, who she throws out after he accuses her of doing "a rotten job" as a mother, "lousy," in fact. She beans him with an ashtray, then considers -

"For I have raised these kids, with one hand typing behind my back to earn a living. I have raised them all alone without a father ..."

Reading these lines, I strongly suspected, Yup. This is how Grace Paley lived her life. Raising her two kids alone, writing when she had to, to make a living. In the same story, the boyfriend gone, the kids sleeping, she continues -

"I organized comfort in the armchair, poured the coffee black into a white mug that said MAMA, tapped cigarette ash into a ceramic hand - hollowed by Richard. I looked into the square bright window of daylight to ask myself the sapping question: What is man that woman lies down to adore him?"

What is man indeed? In another story he might be "The Pale Pink Roast." In another a washed-up Yiddish actor who likes to keep a mistress on the side. In another, Charles C. Charley, an air conditioning guy in his late thirties who gets involved with a teenager ("An Irrevocable Diameter"), or a sleazy Army corporal who romances a thirteen year-old at the same time he's dating her aunt ("A Woman, Young and Old"). Bottom line: men are mostly cads and opportunists. And Grace Paley is a very discerning and FUNNY writer. Philip Roth called these stories "splendidly comic and unladylike." Bingo!

Grace Paley, I suspect, enjoyed the men in her life - until she didn't. And she was not above poking gentle fun at herself either. That's a great trait in a writer. I'll say it again. I loved these stories. Thank you, Ms. Paley, and R.I.P.

- Tim Bazzett, author of the memoir, BOOKLOVER ( )
  TimBazzett | May 18, 2017 |
The only reason I didn’t give up on this collection halfway through the first story is because I had to do a joint presentation on the author as part of my MA degree.

Checking other reviews, I see I’m of a minority who can’t stand these type of stories. Here and there my interest was caught, hence my rating it two stars instead of one, but on the whole I was either bored, irritated, or both.

Too many characters, not enough plot. ( )
  PhilSyphe | Feb 27, 2017 |
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With a sure and humorous touch, Grace Paley explores the "little disturbances" that lie behind our everyday lives. Whether writing about sexy little girls, loving and bickering couples, angry suburbanites, frustrated job-seekers, or Jewish children performing a Christmas play, she captures the loneliness, poignancy, and humor of human experience with matchless style. Book jacket.

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