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Later the Same Day

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  508 ratings  ·  49 reviews
In the 17 short stories collected here, Paley writes with verbal economy and resonance, pithy insights, and warmth and humor. The themes are familiar: friendship, commitment, responsibility, love, political idealism and activism, children, the nuclear shadow.
Paperback, 224 pages
Published April 1st 1986 by Penguin Books (first published 1985)
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Jan 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Cheryl by: 500 GBBW
Shelves: short-shorts
A few hot human truthful words are powerful enough…

Reading Paley's collection is like having a conversation with someone who gets to the point in a few words, and I can appreciate a woman of necessary words. It's not too often that you come across a short story collection and you're immediately stunned by the singularity of voice and style. I had to comb through some of these stories again, wondering what it was that made me feel as though I could hear the characters' voices somewhe
Larry Bassett
Feb 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
This was the book in which I met Grace Paley first in real time. That is, I first read parts of this book, in the same time it was actually written. But now all of her short story books are in the equally distant past. It is years later. Later the Same Day was first published in 1985 when I was a fulltime peace activist. Grace Paley was also a peace activist but she took out time to write. Many of these short stories are four pages or less in length. At slightly more than two hundred pages, it i ...more
Jan 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
Enigmatic stories, not light but containing lightness. Very funny. A sympathetic humor. The short ones are very strange. Off-kilter occurences following their own logic, sometimes reminds me of Jane Bowle's stories, but with broader concerns. Politics is in there a lot, the stories are more about the ways people deal with politics in their own lives, rather than trying to make any political points. I like her voice a lot, and she has recurring characters. Faith and her friends Ruth and Ann and S ...more
Mary Lou
Dec 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: want-to-re-read
How have I lived in this world and not known about the writing of this woman??? This book is a collection of short fiction. A core of female characters appears and reappears in several of them. Though they’re more of my mother’s generation than mine, I’m sure I’ve been on picket lines with all of them. Their activism, however, is not the point of the stories - it’s just part of the air they breathe. The stories are about life, love, relationships, aging, betrayal, loyalty. Paley gives voice to a ...more
Jan 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"Hindsight, usually looked down upon, is probably as valuable as foresight, since it does include a few facts."

Grace Paley's third and final collection of short stories is an astounding third act. It's comic in the highest sense, taking the world in affectionately, returning to characters from earlier collections, moving seamlessly through a complicated life to find warmth.

The opening story, "Love," could act as a thesis for Paley's whole work in short fiction. In a few sparse pages, she reaches
Jan 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
What a unique voice. I've enjoyed this read very much.
Jun 06, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
“He had often thought of the way wide air lives and moves in a man’s chest. Then it’s strummed into shape by the short-stringed voice box to become a wonderful secondary sexual characteristic” (12).
“That’s because I was once a pure-thinking English major—but alas, I was forced by bad management, the thoughtless begetting of children, and the vengeance of alimony into low practicality” (14).
“…she listens like a disease. She’s a natural editor. It goes in her ear one day. In a week you see it with
Linda Hart
Aug 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a small book of poignant short stories populated with independent strong women and their relationships. Her writing style is precise. She uses few words in a clever and effective way. She does not use conventional punctuation, which drove me crazy at first, but once I caught on to her style I found it fitting. Her characters are uniquely believable, the dialogues wonderful, and the subjects addressed important.
She is disdainfully humorous and there are some great one liners.

Here is a qu
Sara Marcus
Aug 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: the whole wide world
one of my all-time favorites, and a major, major reason that i started trying to write stories. i pulled this out yesterday after hearing that she had moved on, stayed up late with her casual scenes in which the desire to end war coexists in these characters' lush, raucous hearts with the desire to take care of children or to be happy in love. nobody did it like she did--wrapped these drives all together in human lives, heard people's magnificently individual voices. i miss her so much.
Kimberly Carson
Feb 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Grace Paley knows how to write sentences that give you fucking goosebumps.

"It's hard to stand behind a people and culture in revolutionary transition when you are constantly worried about their irreplaceable and breakable artifacts."

"The head communard, a bourgeois leftover, says, Oh, what can ail thee, pail individualist?"

"Well, Jack, it was organized to discontinue the English language as a useful way to communicate exact facts."
May 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"I am trying to curb my cultivated individualism, which seemed for years so sweet. It was my own song in my own world and, of course, it may not be useful in the hard time to come."

Highlights: In the Garden; Somewhere Else; Friends; Anxiety; In This Country, But in Another Language, My Aunt Refuses to Marry the Men Everyone Wants Her To; Mother; The Story Hearer; Zagrowsky Tells.
Aug 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing
beautifully precise stories. and this: "Now, what did we learn in that year of my Friday afternoons off? The following: Though the world cannot be changed by talking to one child at a time, it may at least be known."
Jul 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
If I had discovered Grace Paley before she died, I might have stalked her around her neighborhood in nyc to ask her for just a moment of her time. I love her writing. Not all of the stories in this collection are great, but there are enough good ones to make me lose all objectivity.
Chris Gager
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Full review in my review of "The Collected Stories."
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another refresher for me on why the short story is the ultimate fictional form. Paley took dialogue to another level. Short, sometimes very short, always dense, demands attention. Must re-read soon.
Phil Syphe
Feb 27, 2017 rated it did not like it
The only reason I didn’t give up on this collection halfway through the first tale 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. I did expect to like this collection more than the author’s previous two books of shorts – neither of which impressed me – but turned out that this one was the worst of the three.

On the whole I was either bored, irritated, or both. I skipped a few
Sep 28, 2013 rated it liked it
paley serves up her usual—i mean this as praise, because grace paley is excellent at her usual. what i find so impressive is how so many or maybe all of her stories have one or more show-stopping one-liners, sometimes show-stopping short paragraphs, in them, but they do not actually stop the show; instead they're a natural path in the story, and they fit, and you keep reading. it reminds me of how a day or two ago my mom was complaining to me about this book, this very acclaimed book she was rea ...more
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly enjoyed her stories. They center on ordinary Jewish people of all ages. The stories and the characters felt real. Looking forward to reading more of her stories
Apr 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Later the Same Day does what Paley does best. It's beautiful stories crafted around strong, independent women who don't take crap from anyone. Or if they do, they have reasons for it. Paley is a master at creating different kinds of narrations. In Gloomy Tunes she creates a collective narration of old women hanging out their windows, looking down on the world through blowing laundry. And yet she creates this very rounded and exact world with the most minimalist language. If you can learn anythin ...more
Jul 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
i heart grace paley. there is the reason why she's the patron saint of modern short stories. i want to write like her, but am worried about copyright infringement and a soul-sucking lawsuit. she is my god.
Jan 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
grace paley is just a glorious writer. her dialogue just jumps off the page, does an awkward little dance [though a dance we have all seen, and most have done:], and comes to life. sometimes it wears a top hat and sometimes galoshes. sometimes at the same time.
Nov 20, 2010 rated it liked it
Liked these short stories of Grace Paley's very much. True to life, wise and very much of the moment of when she wrote them. Lack of punctuation makes sorting the voices a little difficult but one catches on. Overall, I'd recommend them.
Jan 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
I may have forgotten just how good Grace Paley can be. This accompanied me everywhere until I finished it much too soon. A few lesser stories in there, for me, but most sparkle brilliantly. To be read and re-read.
Oct 05, 2015 rated it liked it
I know I should really have liked this book more than I did. I love her stories that were read on the New Yorker fiction podcast, but I don't have the attention span or energy to read this kind of book right now, I think. Skimmed a lot so take with grain of salt.
Jan 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: a-good-one-yes
I love this collection of short tales. There isn't much Grace Paley didn't explore in the form of story. This book is a keeper to revisit often. Her feminist views are in the tales without being preachy. LOVE this book.
Jun 22, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novel, soulfood
"Now, what did we learn in that year of my Friday afternoons off? The following: Though the world may not be changed by talking to one child at a time, it may at least be known."
One of the most accomplished and most surprising short story writers of all time. A classic. Anyone who wants to know how to write dialogue should read Grace Paley.
Aug 04, 2010 rated it it was ok
I thought I had read this long ago... I certainly knew about the book and just loved the title but now that I am delving into it, I find, I never did read it. Marvelous short stories.
Feb 05, 2016 rated it liked it
great stories include love, dreamer in a dead language, in the garden, friends, mother and listening. others are either too political or bland.
Jim Grimsley
Nov 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
When I first read this collection years ago I must have been going through a period of distraction; the voices of the stories were clear but the stories themselves never came through. This was clearly my own failing. On rereading the book I found it to be wrought cleanly and sparely, reliant on the voices of this particular set of women - Faith, Ruth, Ann, sometimes others - to do the work of narrative. Paley is preoccupied with politics, justice, the idea of enlightenment through intellectual e ...more
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500 Great Books B...: Later the Same Day - Grace Paley 2 17 Jul 29, 2014 05:48PM  

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Grace Paley was an American short story writer, poet, and political activist whose work won a number of awards.

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