Redux: A Piece of a Beginning



Every week, the editors of The Paris Review lift the paywall on a selection of interviews, stories, poems, and more from the magazine’s archive. You can have these unlocked pieces delivered straight to your inbox every Sunday by signing up for the Redux newsletter.

Salman Rushdie. Photo © Rachel Eliza Griffiths.

This week at The Paris Review, we’re celebrating new beginnings. Read on for Salman Rushdie’s Art of Fiction interview, Grace Paley’s “A Piece of a Beginning,” and Linda Gregg’s poem “After the Beginning.”

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Salman Rushdie, The Art of Fiction No. 186
Issue no. 174 (Summer 2005)


Were you writing fiction at the same time?


I was beginning. I was very unsuccessful. I hadn’t really found a direction as a writer. I was writing stuff that I didn’t show anyone, bits that eventually came together into a first novel-length thing that everybody hated. This was before Grimus, my first published novel. I tried to write the book in a Joycean stream of consciousness when really it needed to be written in straight, thrillerish language.



A Piece of a Beginning
By Grace Paley
Issue no. 167 (Fall 2003)

One day she fell flat on her face right out of American middle age into amazing age itself, oldness, a condition she thought she’d like if it could last as long as childhood had. But already, the days themselves were shorter, a wintering fact.

Then, people assuming wisdom began to ask her lots of questions. Some were slipped under the door; some were mailed. Close friends phoned or faxed. For some reason no one e-mailed.



After the Beginning
By Linda Gregg
Issue no. 101 (Winter 1986)

The woman is preparing her body for sleep.
She hangs the hair forward
and it almost touches her feet.
After brushing, she throws it up and back
on to her shoulders. Then splashes water
on her face twenty times.
There is someone inside her happier
than she is, waking as she goes to sleep …


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