Cost of Lunch, Etc.
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Marge Piercy’s debut collection of short stories, The Cost of Lunch, Etc., brings us glimpses into the lives of everyday women moving through and making sense of their daily internal and external worlds. Keeping to the engaging, accessible language of Piercy’s novels, the collection spans decades of her writing along with a range of locations, ages, and emotional states of her protagonists. From the first-person account of hoarding (“Saving Mother from Herself”) to a girl’s narrative of sexual and spiritual discovery (“Going over Jordan”) to a recount of a past love affair (“The Easy Arrangement”) each story is a tangible, vivid snapshot in a varied and subtly curated gallery of work. Whether grappling with death, familial relationships, friendship, sex, illness, or religion, Piercy’s writing is as passionate, lucid, insightful, and thoughtfully alive as ever.



Publié par
Date de parution 01 avril 2014
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781629631455
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

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Praise for The Cost of Lunch, Etc.
With uncompromising emotional intensity, Piercy captures the complex female experience in her debut short story collection. Powerful in scope, the collection feels driven by an idea rather than a story, demonstrating Pierce’s understanding of how social constructs evolve in deeply personal ways.
Publishers Weekly
Piercy’s latest short stories focus, as do her many novels, poetry collections, and earlier stories, on powerful female characters women who are not always right, or sympathetic, or admirable, but definitely strong. Piercy homes in on her characters, mixing just the right amount of humor into her always insightful take on imperfect human relationships, in their many guises.
In short stories, the reader has only a few pages to identify with the protagonist. This means that effective short stories require strong characters, concise plots, and memorable settings. It also means that it can be difficult for a novelist to make the shift to short fiction. Happily, Marge Piercy has succeeded admirably with the twenty well-crafted tales in The Cost of Lunch, Etc. , her first short story collection. As in poetry, short fiction involves working within a limited space, and Piercy uses the skills she has earned as a poet to craft rich, succinct stories with quirky characters and layered imagery.
Rain Taxi
Marge Piercy is a great poet and this is clearly evident in the way she handles words. This is her first collection of short stories (although drawn from the work of a number of years) but the same economy of phrase, depth of emotion and touch of astringency you find in her poetry is here…
These stories bear the hallmark of the ’70s feminist movement not in terms of setting, there are stories set up to today but in terms of the emotional tenet and confessional nature of the collection. Men do not on the whole come out of the stories very well but you do get to meet an amazing caste of vulnerable, gritty and generally fabulous women of all ages.
Many of the stories are funny, a few shocking, all are interesting and incredibly well-told. For a journey into the feminine psyche it is unparalleled.
We Love This Book
These stories entrance and satisfy at the highest level. I recently read an article that described the initial screening for a new movie release. At the end, a young audience member stands and says, "You’ve just captured my life." That’s just what Piercy does and what a good short story can do by capturing a quick-flash photo illuminating some act or thought that rings true in our own personal experience.
Barnstable Patriot

Other books by Marge Piercy
Made in Detroit
The Hunger Moon: New & Selected Poems, 1980–2010 The Crooked Inheritance Hard Loving Colors Passing Through Us Breaking Camp The Art of Blessing the Day Early Grrrl What Are Big Girls Made Of? Mars and Her Children Available Light My Mother’s Body Stone, Paper, Knife Circles on the Water (Selected Poems) The Moon Is Always Female The Twelve-Spoked Wheel Flashing Living in the Open To Be of Use
4-Telling ( with Bob Hershon, Emmett Jarrett and Dick Lourie )
NOVELS Sex Wars Woman on the Edge of Time The Third Child Small Changes Three Women Storm Tide ( with Ira Wood ) Going Down Fast City of Darkness, City of Light The Longings of Women He, She and It Summer People Gone to Soldiers Fly Away Home Braided Lives Vida The High Cost of Living
Dance the Eagle to Sleep
My Life, My Body
Pesach for the Rest of Us
So You Want to Write: How to Master the Craft of Writing
Fiction and the Personal Narrative ( with Ira Wood ), 1st & 2nd editions
The Last White Class: A Play ( with Ira Wood )
Sleeping with Cats: A Memoir
Parti-Colored Blocks for a Quilt: Essays
Early Ripening: American Women’s Poetry Now

The Cost of Lunch, Etc.
Short stories by Marge Piercy
© Middlemarsh, Inc 2015
This edition © 2015 PM Press
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be transmitted by any means without permission in writing from the publisher.
"The Cost of Lunch, Etc.," Aphra . "Saving Mother from Herself," Ms. Magazine . "Going over Jordan," Transatlantic Review. "Somebody Who Understands You," Moving Out . "Do You Love Me?" The Second Wave. "The Retreat," Provincetown Poets . "The Border," Crossroads . "Ring around the Kleinbottle," Fifth Wednesday . "The Shrine," december . "The Easy Arrangement," published in an earlier form as "Professor Wrong" in Mr. Wrong: Real-Life Stories about the Men We Used to Love . "Fog," Paterson Literary Review . "What and When I Promised," Blue Lyra Review . "Little Sister, Cat and Mouse," The Second Wave . "I Wasn’t Losing My Mind," published in an earlier form as "The Necklace" in What My Mother Gave Me: Thirty-one Women on the Gifts That Mattered Most . "The Secret of My Marriage," Jewish Women’s Annual .
ISBN: 978-1-62963-125-7
Library of Congress Control Number: 2015930895
Cover by John Yates /
Interior design by briandesign
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
PM Press
PO Box 23912
Oakland, CA 94623
Printed in the USA by the Employee Owners of Thomson-Shore in Dexter, Michigan.
The Cost of Lunch, Etc.
Saving Mother from Herself
Going over Jordan
She’s Dying, He Said
Somebody Who Understands You
Do You Love Me?
The Retreat
What Remains
The Border
I Had a Friend
Ring around the Kleinbottle
The Shrine
The Easy Arrangement
What the Arbor Said
What and When I Promised
Little Sister, Cat and Mouse
I Wasn’t Losing My Mind
How to Seduce a Feminist (or Not)
The Secret of My Marriage
What Is the Meaning of This?
These short stories were written over decades; of course the older ones were revised a little or a lot for this collection. At least half of them were written after the book contract was signed. Before being approached for this book, I had not worked in this genre for years. I discovered that, at this point in my life, I not only enjoy writing short stories but prefer them to novels. When the book went to press, I didn’t stop writing them. Two of the new ones are included in this paperback.
I have used the short story form mostly to explore the lives of women. Some of the stories are autobiographical, more or less, but don’t assume that the ones written in the first person are and the ones written in the third person aren’t. That doesn’t follow. Sometimes a character has a strong voice, like the woman in "Saving Mother from Herself." Such a character wants the first person and may even directly address the reader. Sometimes to gain perspective on something painful or difficult in a writer’s life, the third person helps. Sometimes a story is almost an anecdote and the first person feels natural.
The protagonists range in age from children ("She’s Dying, He Said") to adolescents ("Crossing over Jordan," "Somebody Who Understands You") to middle age ("What the Arbor Said") and old ladies ("Fog"), with just about every part of lives in between. Some protagonists are well-off, many are not. Some are political, as in "The Border," and some could care less, as in "The Shrine." Some are concerned with love, some with marriage, some with money, some with political choices, some with friendship, some with religion, some with health, some with a writer’s life or choices.
Don’t assume that a story set in the ’70s was written before a story set now. I know I gave that away in the story "Do You Love Me?" when I had the protagonist drag a suitcase on wheels. That’s a stupid anachronism, as there were no suitcases on wheels in the era when the story is set. That got by me until after the book was published and I was reading the story at the Newport Literary Festival and, boing! I heard my mistake too late to change it.
There’s a range of styles, as some readers have noticed and seemed surprised at. I try to adjust style to character and story. Some stories take a more literary style and others demand to be cast in a casual-seeming tone that pretends to be conversational, as in "I Had a Friend." Some want images and a succinct style like "The Retreat."
Writing a short story feels to me midway between writing a poem and writing a novel. Almost every novel has some passages any particular reader may decide to skip; a short story has to grab your attention and hold it all the way through, like a poem. Nothing superfluous can stay. That too is like a poem, but not as extremely so. Every word in a poem is deliberated again and again as I’m working. Short stories are not for me quite so dogged, although some are close enough.
Some stories read aloud better than others, but I think most of them work if you want to perform them. I hope mostly that you will enjoy visiting the lives of these women and an occasional man and come away with something of value. I hope I’ll write many short stories after this group and that you may like them.
Marge Piercy
March 2015
The Cost of Lunch, Etc.
Circa 1970
When the knocking came, Maud was taking a sponge bath.
Grabbing the sheet from the daybed she stuck her head out. One of the old men from the first floor stood there looking sore. &q

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