Posted by: Corri van de Stege | August 1, 2008

Short Stories – Raymond Carver

Time to update my short story reading.  It’s not as if I am totally ignoring this category, not at all.  I read short stories like I read a poem, one at a time and from different books and by different authors, not sequentially as in one book full of short stories before going on to another. Recently I’ve read a couple of stories from Raymond Carver’s Where I’m Calling From.   The book is always somewhere in reach, my table in my work room, on the bedside table or somewhere around the house.  The stories are, according to the blurb ‘masterpieces in American fiction’.  And so they are.  Nobody said anything is about a day in the life of a teenager whose parents quarrel as he and his brother are still in bed, early in the morning.  He fakes illness and his mother allows him to stay home from school.  The innuendo of the relationships between the brothers and the mother is subtly evoked and as a reader you are drawn into the world and thoughts of the teenager, the way he thinks and nothing is crystal clear, of course it is not, he’s a teenager and a male.  Once everyone has gone he gets his fishing tackle and goes out to familiar territory.  He comes across another boy and together they land a huge fish.  Both want it to show off to their parents and the decision is made to cut if in half.  The story comes to its excruciating end when the teenager proudly shows his half of the fish to his parents, back home and quarrelling again, only to be told by both to take it out and away.  He has managed to divert them from their quarrelling, but only because they both want him to take the fish out and away.

 

I’ve read some more in this collection.  They’re all subtle, not a word too many, snapshots of life, of a man who has given up smoking and whose son becomes embroiled in a quarrel with friends and their parents about a bike; then there’s the story of a sleepless student’s wife, who desperately tries to keep her husband awake with her but finally loses and when morning finally comes she gets back into bed, and he’s fast asleep.  So she prays to God.

 

You read one and close the book and get on with whatever you have to do.  It is like reading poetry, it takes time and you want to savour each story.  And, this book also includes The Cathedral – yes that one that I’d lost the last page of when I took it as a print out on holiday…  so I’ve now read it completely and I’m not giving away the ending even now that I know, I reviewed it here.

 

 


Responses

  1. Hi,

    I’ve started reading through your posts and I am liking them.
    I especially like this one, because I could never quite figure out how to read a book full of short stories.
    And now I might be able to properly review one of those (I tried last year for English class, failed dramatically).

    Thank you 🙂

  2. PinguinoEnganado: so glad to be of use! xxx
    And if it helps with your English classes, that’s even better!


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