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Short Cuts: Selected Stories Paperback – September 14, 1993


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Short Cuts: Selected Stories + What We Talk About When We Talk About Love: Stories + Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?: Stories
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 157 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1st edition (September 14, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679748644
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679748649
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,339 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

A movie tie-in edition to the brilliant new film by Robert Altman, based on these nine stories by Carver, "one of the great short story writers of our time--of any time" (Philadelphia Inquirer).

More About the Author

Raymond Carver was born in Clatskanie, Oregon, in 1938. His father was a saw-mill worker and his mother was a waitress and clerk. He married early and for years writing had to come second to earning a living for his young family. Despite, small-press publication, it was not until Will You Please Be Quiet Please? appeared in 1976 that his work began to reach a wider audience. This was the year in which he gave up alcohol, which had contributed to the collapse of his marriage. In 1977 he met the writer Tess Gallagher, with whom he shared the last eleven years of his life. During this prolific period he wrote three collections of stories, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, Cathedral and Elephant. Fires, a collection of essays, poems and stories, appeared in 1985, followed by three further collections of poetry. In 1988 he completed the poetry collection A New Path to the Waterfall.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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I was truly on the edge of my seat during these stories.
Bethanie Frank
The emotional charge that comes from Carver's careful observation takes his writing to the level of masterpiece literature.
Monique Parker
This short, digestible collection of a handful of Carver's stories makes a good introduction to his work.
J. Christmas

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By "mambodog" on February 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
Carver explores the neurotic undercurrents of urban dwellers. His characters are typically immersed in the Everyday where the repetitive force of the mundane has them mired in the mechanics of living: House-sitting, birthday parties, beer buddy fishing trips, boredom, initiation of an affair, two pals cruising, looking for a thrill. From these commonplace events, Carver produces stories that are pristine, using language scrubbed clean of verbal theatrics-no show off words, no eccentric constructions - just prose as clean and as spare as Hemingway's and honed dialogue that is simple, but in the way that we say Mozart is simple.
The story beneath the undercurrents is what makes Carver so addictive. He describes urges, images, and muted longings that you have always felt, but never could express in words-until now.
Take the story "So Much Water So Close To Home." A group of men go on a beer-bash fishing trip. Early into their trip, they discover the body of a nude woman floating face down in the river. The beer buddies figure to keep fishing! Why ruin a good fishing trip? She's dead already, what harm? After all, they're going to notify the authorities, only later, so as not to interrupt having a good time. The beer-induced logic is funny as hell, but the story's neurotic undercurrent explores sloth, inaction and soulless indifference, characters whose actions can only be sanctified after the factors of humanity and decency have been removed from the equation. The wife of one of the beer buddies serves as the story's conscious. When she discovers that her husband drank and fished while a dead body floated downstream, she is appalled, alarmed. To her every accusation of "What kind of man are you to have done this?
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 22, 2002
Format: Paperback
Robert Altman made a wonderful film in the 90s based on 9 short stories published by famous American short story writer Raymond Carver. The film was entitled "Short Cuts" and this publication brings together these 9 stories (including a poem) which were culled from several original Carver publications. The book opens with an introduction by Altman who confesses to taking small liberties with Carver's stories and its characters but without compromising their integrity. Those who have seen the movie will concede that the changes in fact give the entity a coherence that would otherwise be missing. But as a collection of short stories. they can and should be read as standalones. Carver is a master of social commentary, using anecdotes of casual human behaviour to capture the absurdity of modern American life. These candid snapshots may not conform with the dictates of conventional fictional writing in that they may lack a beginning, distinct plot development and a neat ending. Often it isn't even the events that trigger off the response of the characters that are significant but the fact that they respond in a certain way that is interesting from the view point of understanding human behaviour. Carver seems to be saying that sometimes the strange things that happen to us are all due to chance and that like it or not, we need to factor chance into the equation of living. As a short story writer, Carver is exceptional. He has that rare ability to communicate some essential truth about the human condition without using melodrama or any of the other techniques frequently used by lesser writers to captivate and sustain our interest. The 9 stories in this collection are individually separate entities which exist in their own right. No character appears anywhere but in the story he originates from.Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Prakash V. kulkarni on June 15, 2010
Format: Paperback
This small book (157 pages) is a collection of Raymond Carver's short stories. The book has been made into a movie of the same title. There are in all nine stories. The last `Lemonade' as a feels more like a prosem.
I had not read any of Carver's books and this book came as a wonderful surprise. While I did not like some of the stories, I loved the way he had written (Carver passed away in 1988) all of them. He has a wonderful ability to paint the deepest agonies of human heart. And he can make you dislike the characters as easily as he can make you empathize with them.
The story `Will you Be Quiet Please?' is also the title of another of his book. It revolves around a man's anguish who finds his wife had sex with his friend but she is refusing to tell him the details of the act. Unable to know what exactly she did and why she did it, the man spends the whole night drinking outside the house. With every paragraph you can feel the escalating pain of the man.
In `They're Not Your Husband' a man forces his wife to lose weight because he overhears a comment made by two men on oversize rear. But he becomes intrigued that after she lost weight nobody is taking any notice of her figure.
One of the stories I liked was `Vitamins', about how a man, on the verge of committing adultery with a wife's colleague develops a sudden revulsion to her by the realization of her true nature. A good ending.
`So Much Water So Close To Home' is about a woman obsessed with a girl whose body was noticed by her husband while on picnic but doesn't act till he finishes enjoying his outing.
`A Small Good Thing' is a very touching story about a boy getting involved in an accident on his birthday. His mother had ordered a cake for his birthday. I couldn't make sense of the ending.
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