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De qué hablamos cuando hablamos de amor

De qué hablamos cuando hablamos de amor

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De qué hablamos cuando hablamos de amor

valoraciones:
4/5 (28 valoraciones)
Longitud:
152 páginas
2 horas
Publicado:
Apr 18, 2006
ISBN:
9788433927880
Formato:
Libro

Descripción

Los deslumbrados lectores de "Catedral", primer libro publicado en España de Carver, reencontrarán en "De qué hablamos cuando hablamos de amor" la atmósfera y los personajes de un autor que dominó indiscutiblemente el panorama literario norteamericano de los años 80. Parejas que se despedazan, compañeros que parten desesperadamente a la aventura, hijos que intentan comunicarse con sus padres, un universo injusto, violento, tenso, a veces irrisorio... En palabras de Roberto Fernández Sastre, Carver «no designa lo intolerable, sino que lo nombra. Sin concesiones hacia nada ni hacia nadie, rescata lo real en su esencialidad amorfa y brutal».

Publicado:
Apr 18, 2006
ISBN:
9788433927880
Formato:
Libro

Sobre el autor

(1939-1988) falleció en pleno reconocimiento de su carrera como narrador y poeta. Sus cuentos lo consagraron internacionalmente como uno de los maestros del género. En Anagrama se han publicado sus seis libros de relatos. ¿Quieres hacer el favor de callarte, por favor?, De qué hablamos cuando hablamos de amor, Catedral, Tres rosas amarillas y los póstumos Si me necesitas, llámame y Principiantes, además de la antología Short Cuts (Vidas cruzadas). Asimismo se ha publicado Carver Country, que contiene textos del autor (cuentos, poemas y cartas inéditas) y fotografías de Bob Adelman.


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De qué hablamos cuando hablamos de amor - Raymond Carver

Índice

Portada

¿POR QUÉ NO BAILÁIS?

VISOR

EL SEÑOR «CAFÉ» Y EL SEÑOR «ARREGLOS»

BELVEDERE

VEÍA HASTA LAS COSAS MÁS MINÚSCULAS

BOLSAS

EL BAÑO

DILES A LAS MUJERES QUE NOS VAMOS

DESPUÉS DE LOS TEJANOS

TANTA AGUA TAN CERCA DE CASA

LA TERCERA DE LAS COSAS QUE ACABARON CON MI PADRE

UNA CONVERSACIÓN SERIA

LA CALMA

MECÁNICA POPULAR

TODO PEGADO A LA ROPA

DE QUÉ HABLAMOS CUANDO HABLAMOS DE AMOR

UNA COSA MÁS

Créditos

Notas

Para Tess Gallagher

El autor se complace en reseñar aquí la recepción de una beca del John Simon Guggenheim Memorial y otra del National Endowment for the Arts. También desea expresar su agradecimiento y su admiración por Noel Young, de Capra Press.

¿POR QUÉ NO BAILÁIS?

Se sirvió otra copa en la cocina y miró los muebles del dormitorio, situados en la parte delantera del jardín. Excepto el colchón desnudo y las sábanas a vivas rayas, que descansaban junto a dos almohadas sobre el chifonier, todo mostraba un aspecto muy semejante al que había tenido el dormitorio: mesilla de noche y pequeña lámpara a su lado de la cabecera, mesilla de noche y pequeña lámpara al otro lado, el de ella.

Su lado y el lado de ella.

Pensó en ello mientras bebía a sorbos el whisky.

El chifonier se encontraba a unos pasos del pie de la cama. Aquella mañana vació los cajones, y en la sala estaban las cajas de cartón donde había metido lo que contenían. Junto al chifonier había una estufa portátil. Y al pie de la cama, una silla de bejuco con un cojín de diseño exclusivo. Los muebles de cocina, de aluminio bruñido, ocupaban parte del camino de entrada. Un enorme mantel de muselina amarilla –era un regalo– cubría la mesa y colgaba a los lados. Sobre la mesa había un tiesto con un helecho, una vajilla de plata en su caja y un tocadiscos. También eran regalos. Un gran televisor de consola descansaba sobre una mesa baja, y a unos pasos había un sofá y una butaca y una lámpara de pie. El escritorio estaba colocado contra la puerta del garaje, y en el camino de entrada había una caja de cartón con tazas, vasos y platos envueltos por separado en papel de periódico. Aquella mañana vació los armarios, y todo lo que había en ellos estaba fuera de la casa, salvo las tres cajas de cartón de la sala. Mediante un cable alargador tendido al exterior había conectado lámparas y aparatos. Todo funcionaba igual que cuando había estado dentro de la casa.

De cuando en cuando un coche reducía la marcha y los ocupantes miraban, pero ninguno se paraba.

Se le ocurrió que tampoco él lo habría hecho.

–Debe de ser una liquidación casera –le dijo la chica al chico.

Estaban amueblando un pequeño apartamento.

–Veamos lo que piden por la cama –dijo la chica.

–Y por el televisor –dijo el chico.

El chico enfiló el camino de entrada y detuvo el coche ante la mesa de la cocina.

Se bajaron y empezaron a mirar las cosas: ella tocaba el mantel de muselina, él enchufaba la batidora y apretaba el botón de PICAR; ella cogía el calientaplatos y él encendía el televisor y hacía pequeños ajustes con los mandos.

El chico se sentó a ver la televisión en el sofá. Encendió un cigarrillo, miró a su alrededor, tiró la cerilla al césped.

La chica se sentó en la cama. Se quitó los zapatos y se tendió de espaldas. Le pareció ver una estrella.

–Ven aquí, Jack. Prueba la cama. Trae una de esas almohadas.

–¿Qué tal es? –dijo él.

–Pruébala –dijo ella.

El chico miró en torno. La casa estaba a oscuras.

–No me siento a gusto –dijo–. Será mejor que mire si hay alguien ahí dentro.

La chica se puso a brincar sobre la cama.

–Pruébala antes –dijo.

El chico se echó en la cama y se puso la almohada bajo la cabeza.

–¿Qué te parece? –dijo ella.

–Parece sólida –dijo él.

Ella se volvió sobre un costado y le pusó una mano en la cara.

–Bésame –dijo.

–Levantémonos –dijo él.

–Bésame –dijo ella.

Cerró los ojos. Lo abrazó.

Él dijo:

–Veré si hay alguien en la casa.

Pero se sentó y se quedó donde estaba, haciendo como que miraba la televisión.

A derecha e izquierda de la calle, las casas se iluminaron.

–¿No sería divertido si...? –dijo la chica, y sonrió abiertamente y dejó la frase a medias.

El chico rió, pero sin ningún motivo especial. Sin ningún motivo especial, asimismo, encendió la lámpara de la mesilla.

La chica se quitó de encima un mosquito, y el chico se levantó y se metió la camisa en los pantalones.

–Voy a ver si hay alguien en la casa –dijo–. No creo que haya nadie. Si hay alguien, preguntaré cuánto piden por las cosas.

–Pidan lo que pidan, ofrece diez dólares menos. Es una buena táctica –dijo ella–. Además, deben de estar desesperados o algo así.

–Es un televisor muy bueno –dijo el chico.

–Pregúntales cuánto –dijo la chica.

El hombre se acercaba por la acera con una gran bolsa de supermercado. Traía bocadillos, cerveza, whisky. Vio el coche en el camino de entrada y a la chica en la cama. Vio el televisor encendido y al chico en el porche.

–Hola –le dijo el hombre a la chica–. Ya has visto la cama. Perfecto.

–Hola –dijo la chica, y se levantó–. La estaba probando. –Dio unos golpecitos a la cama–. Es una cama estupenda.

–Es una buena cama –dijo el hombre, y puso la bolsa en el suelo y sacó la cerveza y el whisky.

–Pensábamos que no había nadie –dijo el chico–. Nos interesa la cama, y quizás el televisor. Puede que también el escritorio. ¿Cuánto quiere por la cama?

–Pensaba en cincuenta dólares –dijo el hombre.

–¿La dejaría en cuarenta? –preguntó la chica.

–La dejo en cuarenta.

Cogió un vaso de la caja de cartón. Le quitó la envoltura de periódico. Rompió el precinto del whisky.

–¿Y el televisor? –dijo el chico.

–Veinticinco.

–¿Lo dejaría en quince? –dijo ella.

–Está bien, quince. Lo dejo en quince –dijo el hombre.

La chica miró al chico.

–Eh, chicos, tomad un trago –dijo el hombre–. Hay vasos en esa caja. Me voy a sentar. Me voy a sentar en el sofá.

El hombre se sentó en el sofá, se acomodó sobre el respaldo y miró al chico y a la chica.

El chico sacó dos vasos y sirvió dos whiskys.

–Ya basta –dijo la chica–. El mío lo quiero con agua.

Acercó una silla y se sentó a la mesa de la cocina.

–Hay agua en aquel grifo –dijo el hombre–. Abre aquel grifo.

El chico volvió con el whisky con agua. Se aclaró la garganta y se sentó a la mesa de la cocina. Sonrió. Pero no bebió de su vaso.

El hombre miró la televisión. Apuró su whisky y empezó el segundo. Alargó la mano y encendió la lámpara de pie. Precisamente entonces el cigarrillo le resbaló de los dedos y fue a caer entre los cojines.

La chica se levantó y le ayudó a encontrarlo.

–Bueno, ¿qué quieres que nos llevemos? –le dijo el chico a la chica.

Sacó el talonario y se lo llevó a los labios, como si pensara.

–Quiero el escritorio –dijo la chica–. ¿Cuánto es el escritorio?

El hombre, ante lo absurdo de la pregunta, hizo un movimiento con la mano.

–Di una cantidad –dijo.

Los chicos estaban sentados a la mesa. El hombre los miró. A la luz de la lámpara, creyó ver algo en sus caras. Algo agradable o desagradable. ¿Quién podía saberlo?

–Voy a apagar la televisión y a poner un disco –dijo el hombre–. También vendo el tocadiscos. Barato. ¿Cuánto me dais por él?

Se sirvió más whisky y abrió una cerveza.

–Lo vendo todo –dijo.

La chica alargó el vaso y el hombre le sirvió whisky.

–Gracias –dijo la chica–. Muy amable.

–Se te sube a la cabeza –dijo el chico–. Se me está subiendo a la cabeza. –Alzó el vaso y lo agitó.

El hombre acabó su whisky y se sirvió otro. Luego encontró la caja de los discos.

–Elige algo –le dijo a la chica, y le tendió los discos.

El chico extendía el cheque.

–Éste –dijo la chica eligiendo uno, uno cualquiera, porque no conocía los nombres de las tapas. Se levantó de la mesa y se volvió a sentar. No quería estar sentada y quieta todo el tiempo.

–Estoy poniendo el importe –dijo el chico.

–Claro –dijo el hombre.

Bebieron. Escucharon el disco. Luego el hombre puso otro.

¿Por qué no bailáis?, decidió decir; y lo hizo:

–Eh, chicos, ¿por qué no bailáis?

–No, no –dijo el chico.

–Venga –dijo el hombre–. Es mi jardín. Podéis bailar si os apetece.

Abrazados, con los cuerpos muy juntos, el chico y la chica se deslizaban de un lado a otro por el firme de la entrada. Bailaban. Cuando se acabó el disco, bailaron con el siguiente, y cuando se acabó éste el chico dijo:

–Estoy borracho.

Y la chica dijo:

–No estás borracho.

–Sí, estoy borracho.

El hombre dio la vuelta al disco, y el chico dijo:

–Lo estoy.

–Baila conmigo –le dijo la chica al chico, y luego al hombre; y cuando vio que el hombre se levantaba, avanzó hacia él con los brazos abiertos.

–Esa gente de allí. Están mirándonos –dijo la chica.

–No pasa nada –dijo el hombre–. Es mi casa.

–Que miren –dijo la chica.

–Eso es –dijo el hombre–. Creían haberlo visto todo en esta casa. Pero no habían visto esto, ¿eh?

Sintió el aliento de la chica en el cuello.

–Espero que te guste la cama.

La chica cerró los ojos; luego los abrió. Pegó la cara contra el hombro del hombre. Y atrajo su cuerpo hacia sí.

–Debes de estar desesperado o algo parecido –dijo.

Semanas después, la chica explicó:

–El tipo era de edad mediana. Todas sus cosas estaban por allí, en el jardín. No miento. Estábamos trompas y nos pusimos a bailar. En la entrada de los coches. Oh, Dios. No os riáis. Nos puso discos. Mirad este tocadiscos. El viejo nos lo regaló. Y todos esos discos de mierda. ¿Habéis visto esta mierda?

Siguió hablando. Se lo contó a todo el mundo. Tenía muchos más detalles que contar, e intentaba que se hablara de ello largo y tendido. Al cabo de un rato dejó de intentarlo.

VISOR

Un hombre sin manos llamó a mi puerta para venderme una fotografía de mi casa. Si exceptuamos los ganchos cromados, era un hombre de aspecto corriente y tendría unos cincuenta años.

–¿Cómo perdió las manos?

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  • (5/5)
    A friend gave this book to me as a gift after we watched BIRDMAN in theaters a few years ago. I hadn't read anything by Raymond Carver before (and hadn't heard of him until I saw the movie), but my friend is a huge fan. This is the second time I've read through the book, and since I knew more of what to expect, I appreciated it more. The stories are often depressing, often dealing with screwed-up people with personal and familial problems. I can't say I can relate to these characters, but I imagine that there's a large subset of American society that can. Two of the stories - "Tell the Women We're Going" and "Popular Mechanics" - had such horrific endings, my hair stood up.

    Mr. Carver's writing is deceptively simple, lacking complex vocabulary. If its themes and subtexts weren't so mature, I'd almost suggest that it be a candidate for a "high-low" book, meaning that its reading level is low but it's still appropriate for older readers.

    5 stars.
  • (3/5)
    Update:

    I recommend everyone to watch the film Short Cuts by Robert Altman. This breathed a new life into these stories for me, allowing me to just enjoy them for what they are rather than trying to pry into them for deeper meaning.

    ***********************
    I've given this three stars only because I know It's really good and probably deserves more, but I have to be honest, and I don't think I have the mental capacity to really appreciate it. I feel like there's something under the stories that I can't reach. I've heard that his work has biblical themes. I'd really like someone to take me by the hand and lead me through his writing.

    I enjoyed reading this. It was only when a teacher of mine brought it up that I realised how similar to Hemingway Carver's writing style is.

    My favourite Carver story is probably Chef's House as read on The NewYorker Podcast. In written form I like the one where the guy's wife works as a waitress in some diner - can't remember the name.

  • (5/5)
    Breathtakingly good. I found it hard to keep reading at times because the emotional impact of the stories was so intense. Technically speaking Carver is truly a master of understatement and really, really tight writing. I mainly picked this up because Murakami lists him as an inspiration, and I can definitely see the influence on his style. So glad I read this!
  • (3/5)
    This was okay. I usually love short story collections but this one did not really leave its mark on me. Most of the time I do not understand what's happening. There are great stories in this collection but over-all it was just okay.
  • (3/5)
    Some great stories. Are few are overly pared down and seem to go for effect rather than story. Still a brilliant collection.
  • (2/5)
    I enjoy that Carver experimented with form, language, and style but the plot of many of the stories are not my cup of tea. That being said, one story which I do quite like is "Everything Stuck to Him" on page 127.
  • (4/5)
    better review pending but some quick thoughts:

    -I know Carver was an alcoholic, but he was literally incapable of writing a story that doesn't mention booze
    -incredibly minimal but emotional writing. it's incredible how carver can use so few words to say so much.
    -I don't care how involved Gordon Lish was involved, the final product is fantastic

    favorites: "What We Talk about when we talk about love" (natch), "Everything Stuck to Him"
  • (4/5)
    Answer: In other words, everything else: "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" by Raymond Carver, Gordon Lish “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.”

    in “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” by Raymond Carver, Gordon Lish

    Imagine the following sentence: “By 8 AM I wake up to go to the bathroom.”

    Now imagine the following edited sentence: “By 8 AM I wake up and go to the bathroom to sit on what has to be the unlikeliest throne in Lisbon.”

    Which one is better? Uhm...Food for thought...

    If you're into this kind of stuff, read on.
  • (5/5)
    Read it in a day, was utterly blown away. It's a collection of unrelated short stories that somehow feel related, and the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. I know I'm not exactly early to the Carver party, so I'll save all the hackneyed praise about his evocative minimalist prose raw gin-soaked quiet desperation slice-of-life vignette blah blah blah. If you want to read that kind of review, randomly sample other reviews of this book, any of which probably said it better than I could, and long before.

    I wish I'd had this book in my life when I was going through my divorce. It wouldn't have fixed anything, or even made me feel better about it, but when you're at true rock bottom, that isn't what you're looking for; only some confirmation that this is survivable.
  • (5/5)
    I had just a few more stories to read in this book and I finally finished it. That's the great thing about short story collections. Finish a story, put a bookmark in it, and you can pick it up again after a long absence without starting over again.

    Carver has become one of my favorites. The plainspoken characters. The stark but beautiful use of nature. The unexpected volatility and tenderness of his characters. The specter of sometimes sinister doings. The endings that sometimes provoke a guffaw, sometimes make you scratch your head.

    I've been reading his work generally in the order written. In the title story has Carver moving into new territory. Rather than the usual sparse dialog that marks his first stories, it has a group of four relatively articulate friends talking over drinks about what constitutes love. The reality of love is that it is often violent and tinged with madness. It often seems to disappear slice by infinitesimal slice until it's gone, leaving you wonder whether it was ever there. Yet its saving grace is that people always manage to love again.
  • (5/5)
    Terse. Spare. Amazing.

    Carver's vision was singular and pure. His words fall like rain, inevitable and clear.
  • (4/5)
    Short and sweet, some stories take only a few pages. They're not all hits, but a goodie is never more than a few turns away. The briefest, Popular Mechanics, is one of the best, but Tell The Women We're Going is the stand-out, spine-tingling highlight.
  • (2/5)
    Reading these stories made me feel hopeless and alone.
  • (3/5)
    Having had very high expectations via reputation etc. I must say I was a tad underwhelmed. By all means, a very good writer, and some of the stories were great, but others - I'd like to say 'WTF'? but will instead say were simply over my little head. I don't understand a story that seems to have no beginning and no end, not even a seed of an idea to ponder - it's as if you found a loose page from a book that doesn't exactly leave you with any desire to go and hunt down that book right away. I have another book of his stories - [Where I'm Calling From] and I since that one is an anthology of his best, I have certainly not taken it off of my TBR list.
  • (2/5)
    Hmm ... I'm a lover of short stories, but didn't get the praise/hype/awards that this guy has won. The fiction is very sparse, and definitely has a very personal flair - mostly through subject matter, and the non-linear progression of the conversations. I think this qualifies as voice, but the stories weren't that compelling to me.I'll re-read this in a year or so, to see if I missed something.
  • (5/5)
    On my first reading, I found it hard to see part the dated elements of so many of the stories. I don't know why that bothered me, except maybe that the 70s are both recent enough and distant enough that it's hard to read stories from that era without smirking a little. The characters are like us and unlike us in precisely uncomfortable ways.Or maybe that was always true of Carver. I don't know, but in subsequent readings, his style really got under my skin. I love the way he leaves you guessing, hiding his Big Ideas under oblique dialogue, carefully recorded details, and gallons of alcohol.
  • (5/5)
    Carver is very spare and very depressing, at least at first. I must admit that I wasn't sure I liked his stories much in the beginning, but about halfway through (I think with the story "So Much Water So Close to Home") I warmed up to him, and by the end I loved the overall effect Carver achieved. A critical blurb from Tim O'Brien on the back of the book says it better than I can: "The collection as a whole, unlike most, begins to grow and resonate in a wonderful cumulative effect." I totally agree with that; even Lorrie Moore, whose stories I absolutely love, hasn't achieved that kind of cohesion with her collections. Carver is very subtle, so reading one or two stories by him won't do it--the whole collection needs to be read through, and I would guess it's best to do it quickly, like I did. It's the mood that's important, not the individual stories (which often don't even have plots, just character interactions), and Carver captures a sense of the emotionally seedy underbelly of America. It's honest and blunt and would be depressing if it weren't so good.
  • (5/5)
    Carver's minimalist writing does not build up characters but breaks them down and nearly destroys them. He captures people at their most vulnerable and illustrates the power a chaotic moment can have on an otherwise stable person. The unexpected is all that should be expected in his often morose America as it is the unexpected which seems to matter most.
  • (5/5)
    What We Talk About When We Talk About Love is an amazing collection of stories, with vivid, monumentally flawed characters--drunks, murderers, junkies, and everything else from the socially stigmatized end of the spectrum. Carver creates some great reads and leaves you wanting more.
  • (3/5)
    These are fairly short stories, easy quick reads. However, there's really not much depth to anything outside of emotion, primarily the emotions of confusion and discontent. Simply, these are slices of life, straightforward and easy to understand surface-wise. There is some beauty to be seen in the grace and the simplicity with which Carver writes, but the stories get repetitive by the end, even with such a short book.
  • (5/5)
    Brutal. Short. Amazing.Clawing through these short stories was reminiscent of reading Bukowski's poetry. Carver wastes no words as he chisels his fiction bluntly from blocks of motive and description. Some of the stories are mere pages, but hold up via the weight of the undercurrent, the hidden text.
  • (5/5)
    Known for his anguished perusal of every word in his stories, Raymond Carver delivers an incredible collection here. There is an economy to these contemporary stories about cheating spouses and lost love affairs. Many short story writers try to include a whole world in as few words as they can - Carver just gives you a picture and lets you muse over it yourself.
  • (4/5)
    Raymond Carver's America is bleak. While Sherwood Anderson celebrates the inherent flaws in the individual, Carver works to accept the fact that some personality flaws can never be fixed. In this collection of his short stories, he relies on implication. Much in the way Hemingway likened his stories to icebergs (both are mostly hidden beneath the surface, leaving the viewer to piece together the real size of things based off of what they can see), Carver relies on an economy of language which makes his characters sadder and more pathetic as he asks the reader to imagine these people for themselves. This works because he presents believable characters. Even in a story like "Tell the Women We're Going" where the action (a seemingly unprompted double homicide) is unbelievable, the stories work because the characters are difficult not to believe. In the writing world, where characters are either too perfect or too intentionally eclectic, Carver creates characters whose flaws are mundane. The flaws are only shared with the reader because there's nothing the characters can do to change themselves-- their resignation is what gets you. Without Carver's keen eye for language, these stories wouldn't be nearly as interesting. In "I could see the smallest things" Carver pays special attention to having the narrator of the story see nothing clearly. Every statement she makes after she leaves the comfort of her house concerns her inability to see what's going on. As a metaphor, none of the characters in these stories can see what's going on. Either they choose to ignore the world, they're too caught up on themselves, or they see their mistakes but they take no actions to correct them.Despite the melancholy tone of the book, each story is capable of grabbing your attention and keeping hold of it until the last sentence. This isn't the best book to pick up if you're looking for something to cheer you up, but if you're looking for some easy-to-read, incredible short stories this is the book for you.
  • (4/5)
    Raymond Carver is a master storyteller. He writes these super short stories that are packed with intrigue and feelings. In less time that you can imagine, Carver made me connect with his characters and then he always had these twists that made me read it again just to wrap my head around what happened. The title story, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, is one of the best short stories I've read. This collection of stories made a great last read of the night each night before I went to bed.
  • (4/5)
    I reread this collection in conjunction with reading the base text, Beginners. In most cases the stories have been edited by almost half and the large majority are equally impressive, though in much different ways. I'd have to say that "The Bath" is the story in this collection that lost the most from the intense editing of Gordon Lish. In Beginners this story really plumbs the depths of the emotional struggle of the couple after the death of their son and the ending demonstrates a moving interaction between strangers who are both recognizing their humanity midst true tragedy. The WWTA version just ends on a bleak and somewhat "thriller-ish" note that was extremely reductive. At any rate that's an anomaly, I'd recommend reading this in tandem with Beginners or just read it if you want to read some damn good fiction.
  • (4/5)
    “Drinking’s funny. When I look back on it, all of our important decisions have been figured out when we were drinking. Even when we talked about having to cut back on drinking, we’d be sitting at the kitchen table or out at the picnic table with a six-pack or whiskey.”  “A man can go along obeying all the rules and then it don’t matter a damn anymore.”  “and it ought to make us feel ashamed when we talk like we know what we're talking about when we talk about love.”  Carver writes spare, slices of American life. Stories of love, booze, pain, infidelity and death. These tales take place, in small towns, trailer parks and on camping trips. There is just enough dry wit, to keep it keep the bleakness at bay.I first discovered Carver, while reading Short Cuts: Selected Stories, which was a special edition collecting stories from the Robert Altman film Short Cuts. It is a truly amazing film, with a stellar cast and it perfectly captures the spirit and tone of Carver. A couple of the stories found in the film show up in What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. I have no idea why it has taken me 20-plus years to revisit Carver, but I am back on board now and will read the rest of his work.
  • (5/5)
    Carver was born in Clatskanie, Oregon and lived mostly in Port Angeles, Washington, so this collection of short stories has a Pacific Northwest flavor. The stories are short and spare, the settings gritty, and the characters difficult. The focus is on romantic relationships that don’t completely work. Alcohol is a major factor. Here is a passage from “Gazebo,” in which Holly and Duane, managers of a small motel, confront Duane’s infidelity.Drinking’s funny. When I look back on it, all of our important decisions have been figured out when we were drinking. Even when we talked about having to cut back on our drinking, we’d be sitting at the kitchen table or out at the picnic table with a six-pack or whiskey. When we made up our minds to move down here and take this job as managers, we sat up a couple of nights drinking while we weighed the pros and the cons.A lot of the stories make you feel just plain icky, as in “So Much Water, So Close to Home” in which a group of men on a fishing trip come across the dead body of a murdered woman at the beginning of the trip, and wait until the end of the trip to report it, rather than interrupt the trip. But something about Carver’s writing, and his non-judgmental view makes the stories more than just a glimpse of the odd and disturbing. They really raise the question of what it means to be human in relationship to other humans. .