Saturday, April 22, 2006

Whittling Away at Ray Carver

Just finished all 159 pages of What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, Raymond Carver's biting portrait of 20th century American Love. If brevity was a commodity, Carver would have the trademark. He captures with picturesque horror the everyday nuances of sour relationships and alcoholic love, the twisted sheets of stories. Carver paints the underbelly of working-class America through a masterful use of the repetition of minor details and seemingly unimportant snippets of hauntingly realistic dialogue which make the characters leap off the page and into our hearts. He seems to me a polaroid camera made of words.

If you haven't read any Carver I highly recommend Fires and A New Path to the Waterfall. There's also an excellent adaptation of some of the stories from this book that was made into a movie starring, among others, Tom Waits! Check it out, it's called Short Cuts

I've been a fan of Carver's poetry for years now and am just getting deeper into his fiction these past few months. A few years ago I had the privilige of cataloguing my father's Carver collection, one of the most extensive in existence. Quite an amazing feeling handling those old signed broadsides and first editions, like there's a bigger piece of him there than in this Vintage paperback.

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