The Cost of Lunch, Etc.

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.

The paperback edition contains an additional two new short stories and a new introduction from the author.


“The author displays an old-fashioned narrative drive and a set of well-realized characters permitted to lead their own believably odd lives.“
—Thomas Mallon, Newsday

“This reviewer knows no other writer with Piercy’s gifts for tracing the emotional route that two people take to a double bed, and the mental games and gambits each transacts there.“
—Ron Grossman, Chicago Tribune

“Marge Piercy is not just an author, she’s a cultural touchstone. Few writers in modern memory have sustained her passion, and skill, for creating stories of consequence.“
Boston Globe

“What Piercy has that Danielle Steel, for example, does not is an ability to capture life’s complex texture, to chart shifting relationships and evolving consciousness within the context of political and economic realities she delineates with mordant matter-of-factness. Working within the venerable tradition of socially conscious fiction, she brings to it a feminist understanding of the impact such things as class and money have on personal interactions without ever losing sight of the crucial role played by individuals’ responses to those things.“
—Wendy Smith, Chicago Sun-Times

“As always, Piercy writes with high intelligence, love for the world, ethical passion and innate feminism.“
—Adrienne Rich

About Marge Piercy:

Marge Piercy is the author of seventeen novels including the national best-sellers Gone to Soldiers, Braided Lives, and Woman on the Edge of Time; seventeen volumes of poetry, and a critically acclaimed memoir, Sleeping with Cats. Born in center-city Detroit, educated at the University of Michigan, the recipient of four honorary doctorates, she has been a key player in many of the major progressive political battles of our time, including the anti-Vietnam War and women’s movements, and more recently an active participant in the resistance to the war in Iraq.

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