29 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Carver's a Champ,
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This review is from: What We Talk About When We Talk About Love: Stories (Paperback)
I've been using this book in literature classes in Japan, and I have to say that these stories have lost none of their power in the twenty-odd years since they first appeared in book form. Carver was a master at presenting the disillusioned and the lost in terse, understated, colloquial English that still is as crisp and fine as when it was first minted. Like Hemingway, Carver developed a method to freight the simplest words and sentences with a depth of meaning that can skew the whole story in an unexpected way, even in the very last sentence. This takes craft and talent, both qualities that Carver exhibits in the highest degree.
Some may find his choice of subject matter rather limited. His characters, too, often exhbit the same strengths and the same weaknesses (booze for instance)--and this may signal a kind of narrowness of vision to some. Certainly Carver does not have the breadth of a Tolstoy or a Doestoyevsky, or even of a Faulkner or a Hemingway--yet these limitations, I would argue, are also his greatest strengths. Though he does not have a universal sweep, Carver knows his territory well, and mines his subject in all kinds of fascinating ways.
All in all, this book is a fine introduction to Raymond Carver's work.
Carver's a champ in my book and I predict that some of these stories will find their way into the American canon right next to Melville, Poe, Emerson, and all the rest. What a chuckle for Ray when he looks down from his writer's heaven and notices the gold stamping on the spine!