Books · Contemporary · Inspiration · Literacy · Literature · Quick Reads · Short Story

Favourite Authors: Raymond Carver

This week marks the anniversary of Raymond Carver's death. It's prompted me to revisit his collected stories. I always find that they resonate with me as strongly on re-reading them despite time and changes in my life. The stories look scathingly at moments of life. Transcending the ordinary and turning it into something unique and poignant. His stories examine the lives of the work class, waitresses, salesmen, the unemployed and the alcoholic in a way that shows a hidden depth. My favourite is 'What we talk about when we talk about love.' The stripped down conversation feels true to life. It moves from one topic to the next, and back again. You feel the characters move through subtle changes of mood. I also love 'Where I'm calling from' the story of an alcoholic attending rehab. It's melancholy, touching and reflective. You feel as though the characters are in status, as if they're taking a brief interlude from living. The final line is an attempt to reconnect too late. There is an unshakeable sensation that a happy ending is out of reach. I consider him (despite his editor played a crucial role in his success) to be one of the most essential writers for examining narrative form. I also believe he offers readers a crystal clear lens through which we can examine our own lives.

Who's your favourite short story writer?

Have you read Carver and what's you favourite story?

I'd love to hear your thoughts & recommendations for short reads!

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11 thoughts on “Favourite Authors: Raymond Carver

    1. Thanks Tiff! I don’t naturally gravitate towards short stories but I love Raymond Carver, Poe and I’ve read a fair bit of Anton Chekhov. I find they’re good for a reading rut or for if you can’t risk reading 17 chapters when you only meant to read one before bed!

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  1. I can’t say I’ve read many short stories in my life; I don’t really know where to look for them and what to read. But wow. Raymond Carver sounds amazing. I’ll definitely look into his work. Your praise for him has got me intrigued. Thanks for sharing. πŸ˜‰

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    1. A lot of people say that, you really have to go looking for short stories, they just don’t get the same level of exposure as novels! I definitely think there’s some amazing underrated work in this form! His ‘where I’m calling from’ collection is the only thing I re-read, I like that you can just dip in and out of it. I hope you like it when you get chance to give it a look. 😁

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  2. Ray Carver is one of my favorite contemporary fiction writers. I just reread Fever the other night. It’s amazing how much story and emotion he crammed into the first few pages! I’m glad to have found your blog–I followed you and look forward to reading more.

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  3. Raymond Carver is a treasure, and as a born and raised West Coaster I can relate to the characters that people his stories. Many great stories, but the one that sticks out for me is So Much Water So Close To Home because you can see his transitioning from an exceptional writer to a transcendent writer whose prose is resonant and greater than the sum of its parts.
    Reading Joyce’s Dubliners in college was for me an instruction course on how to write a short story, and reading Carver’s works was like a Master’s course on the same subject.

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    1. Resonant is the perfect word to describe his writing. He never says how the characters feel, so as readers we project our own experience and it makes it far more personal. I think it speaks volumes that you and I are across an ocean, with completely different life experience but we can both find something to relate to and recognise in Carver’s stories. I need to read Joyce, I made a poor attempt at reading Ulysses but gave up! I’m going to Dublin in October so I should pick up the Dubliners for then!

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      1. Dubliners and the novel Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man are much more accessible than Ulysses, which I still haven’t finished myself, though I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read so far. πŸ™‚
        That we both recognize Carver’s brilliance even though we’re half a world apart with different backgrounds shows the importance of literature as a connector of humanity. Hope you enjoy Dublin!

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      2. I’ll definitely pick them up before I go and give Joyce another try, I think you’ve really got to want to read Ulysses to do it! Definitely, nothing transcends time and space quite like a good book! Thanks for stopping by to chat! πŸ˜€

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