Right now I'm reading Enormous Changes at the Last Minute by Grace Paley and loving it. The book is a collection of short stories, many of which are only a few pages. However, in those few pages she manages to pack in the reality and vicissitudes of life in a way that brings the characters and situations to life.
I've read to things about her philosophy of writing that I think are important to at least consider. The first is that she believes it's possible to pack as much meaning and message in a short story as a novel, if the story is done right.
The second is that she examines the small interactions that happen everyday between people. Think of all the times during the day when we avoid taking an action because we worry about how it will affect another or we take an action because of the effect it will have. She digs into these details quite well.
For example, she starts the first story:
I saw my ex-husband in the street. I was sitting on the steps of the new library.
Hello, my life, I said. We had once been married for twenty-seven years, so I felt justified.
He said, What? What life? No life of mine.
I said O.K. I don't argue of there's real disagreement. I got up and went into the library to see how much I owed them.