Yet these stories bear careful re-reading, like any truly important and enduring work. For one thing, Carver is one of the few writers who can make desperation--cutting your ex-wife's telephone cord in the middle of a conversation, standing on your own roof chunking rocks while a man with no hands takes your picture--deeply funny. Then there is the sheer craft that went into their creation. Despite their seeming simplicity, his tales are as artfully constructed as poems--and like poems, the best of them can make your breath catch in your throat. In the title piece, for instance, after the gin has been drunk, after the stories have been told, after the tensions in the room have come to the surface and subsided again, there comes a moment of strange lightness and peace: "I could hear my heart beating. I could hear everyone's heart. I could hear the human noise we sat there making, not one of us moving, not even when the room went dark."
Much of what happens in What We Talk About When We Talk About Love (1981) happens offstage, and we're left with tragedy's props: booze, instant coffee, furniture from a failed marriage, cigarettes smoked in the middle of the night. This is not merely a matter of technique. Carver leaves out a great deal, but that's only a measure of his characters' vulnerability, the nerve endings his stories lay bare. To say anything more, one feels, would simply hurt too much. --Mary Park
What a great book of short stories. Mr. Carver leaves the endings open-ended in many of the stories, and so don't read before bed, you'll want time to mull it over and allow your... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Tanbiere
Carver's desolate prose perfectly expresses lower-middle class America. These hauntingly humane snapshots will stay with you long after the last sentence is read.Published 1 month ago by Cy_6V
Ranks with other such tales, as Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf? Painful to read but telling in its detail. Commentary on hidden lives, deep set angst and outright hostilities.Published 2 months ago by Reader
It has been shown that people understand sentences even if the words have almost only the first and last letters: Hxre is a bqek rberew aoiut lxve. Read morePublished 2 months ago by talkaboutquality
These are perfect before sleep reading. They are short, profound stories of America and of the human condition. Read morePublished 2 months ago by nimm45