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Clara’s Heart

20th Anniv. CLARA’S HEART. Grace Paley was delighted to hear I’d sold my book.

in Non-Fiction by

by Joseph Olshan When I was in my twenties I lived in Manhattan on a stretch of West 11th Street informally named Writers’ Block. The novelist Donald Barthelme lived there, as did playwright Israel Horovitz, and perhaps most prominently, Grace Paley, who in those years was still commuting back and forth between Thetford and Manhattan. I rarely saw Barthelme, but I often ran into Grace Paley, a neighborhood darling, motherly with her bun of steel-hued hair, dark fiery eyes, direct and forthcoming without a hint of pretense. If you didn’t recognize her as one of the preeminent short story writers of the late 20th century you might have assumed that, in one of her ankle-length paisley dresses, she was one…

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