Short Cuts
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Short Cuts

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  3,040 ratings  ·  167 reviews
A movie tie-in edition to the brilliant new film by Robert Altman, based on these nine stories by Carver, "one of the great short story writers of our time--of any time" (Philadelphia Inquirer).
Paperback, 160 pages
Published March 7th 1994 by Harvill Press (first published 1993)
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The big duh: Raymond Carver is one of the masters of the contemporary short story. The really great thing about Carver is that his stories are so easy -- you can blaze through them like a pop novel without missing a beat, and yet come out on the other end knowing you've read something tremendous. They are SIMPLE, but far from SIMPLISTIC.

This collection is actually a movie-to-book edition. In the 90s, Robert Altman (director of M*A*S*H and Nashville) created a film that put together 9 of Carver's...more
Dec 06, 2007 Andrew rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: drunks
Shelves: literary, made-me-cry
At my birthday party, I mentioned to someone that I had recently read these stories, and two other people, seperate from each other and from me, started raving about how good Carver is. It's true.

All I want to do after reading this guy's stories is drink and beat my wife. Except beautifully.

Sample quote, from "Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?":
"For their honeymoon they drove to Guadalajara, and while they both enjoyed visiting the decayed churches and the poorly lighted museums and the afterno...more
Avevo già letto "Cattedrale", e in quest'altra raccolta di racconti (scelti da Robert Altman, che vi si è ispirato per il film America Oggi) ho ritrovato il Carver che ricordavo. Pennellate di crudeltà, di quotidianità, di vite di estranei così umani e verosimili che potrebbero essere i nostri vicini di casa, o noi stessi.
In realtà lo stile asciutto di Carver e soprattutto i finali tronchi, taglienti e amari che lo caratterizzano sono in gran parte dovuti alla mano pesante del suo editor. Ma ciò...more
Bello bello bello. Tra i miei preferiti "Vuoi star zitta, per favore?" e "Con tanta di quell'acqua a due passi da casa". Un uso delle sensazioni e delle persone incredibile.
Giant Bolster
Finally got round to reading some Raymond Carver. I didn’t realise initially that this compilation was taken from various collections, selected by a filmmaker who made a movie out of these stories woven loosely together. I would have preferred to read a collection of stories as originally intended by the author himself, so that I can try to make sense of the connections between the stories myself, rather than through the intermediary of a movie director. Oh well.

Anyway, I did enjoy these stories...more
Non deve sorprenderci il fatto che Raymond Carver non abbia mai scritto romanzi: è troppo felice l’incontro fra la narrazione breve e la miseria di un’umanità semplice, di periferia, quasi sempre derelitta, fotografata nel suo tentativo di restare in piedi nonostante tutto, la cui vita è priva degli avvenimenti straordinari e dei complessi intrecci che meglio si adattano ai grandi romanzi.

Continua a leggere:
I read Short Cuts after reading What We Talk About... and it's simply nowhere near as strong a collection, which seems fitting as it was compiled by Robert Altman and not Carver himself. About the highlights that don't completely overlap: "A Small Good Thing" is one of the highlights here, a more elaborate version of "The Bath" from What We Talk About... with names, emotions, and even a resolution(!) provided this time around. "They're Not Your Husband" is just about as Carver as anything he's e...more
This has been sitting on my DVD shelf for a few years now as the Criterion companion to the movie. While I really enjoy the movie, I think I ended up buying it just because there was a book included in the packaging. And thank goodness...Carver might have continued to go undetected by me as--for the most part--all I've ever heard him discussed is a one sentence nod of approval in passing. Not that I could have predicted it, but I'm glad I've waited to read his work because I might not have appre...more
So there are some stories in this collection that are altered versions of stories from What We Talk about When We Talk About Love. I was having difficulty with the chronology, though I believe What We Talk About (pub'd in 19981) came first. He also apparently rewrote some of the stories in Short Cuts when he wrote Where I'm Calling From .
The initial rewrites that I referred to (a.k.a. the ones I've actually read) include details and motives that contrast starkly with the spare character...more
I saw Short Cuts when it first came out in the theater in the early 90's(3 hours is too long to sit in a theater). I had just discovered Raymond Carver and I loved to see how Altman weaved together the stories. Got the movie and this book from the library last weekend. It didn't take me much longer to read the book than it took to watch the movie (did I mention 3 hrs!) I enjoyed the movie - some really amazing acting throughout - but not as much as I enjoyed reading the original stories. Carver'...more
It's interesting to read what a filmmaker chose from Carver's stories. These are the most dramatic Carver stories I know, full of death, adultery, bar fights, rape, murder, abandoned dogs.... Nobody, say, sits around a table getting drunk for a really long time and talking about love. But they're great. And it's been long enough since I've seen the movie that I didn't recall who played which character, or get frustrated with liberties that were taken. A hint, perhaps, of Lyle Lovett in the baker...more
I feel dumb rating a book that inspired a film with as many amazing actors as this one had so low. My lack of a developed critical sense probably made me hate these stories, but due to personal failings or no, hate them I did. They made me feel very, very hopeless, with no prospect of uplift. I don't like that.
cras culture
This collection just didn't grab me the way that Carver's "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" did.

When browsing Netflix, I saw a description of the film that this book became and was compiled for. It seemed to place emphasis on the immensity of the life altering moments which each story contained as a sort of turning point. While "What We Talk About..." could be dramatic, and some of these stories are altered carryovers, I thought that what made those stories so special was the microsco...more
Oh parents in the bakery at the end of "A Small, Good Thing." Oh light in that bakery. Oh hot rolls. Oh bad baker. Oh Scotty. Oh oh.

(Sometimes all I want to read is Carver. Borrowed this from my ma while back home. Interesting to see which ones a filmmaker picked).
Ahmed Amine
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I loved the's one of my all-time favorites. It was interesting to read the short stories behind the scrpit, but for once I actually felt the movie outdid the book.
Saverio Mariani

Carver mi stupisce ad ogni racconto di più.
È straordinario. Bello. È pieno di vita.
I really do not like Carver and his stories about bored, boring men and their bored, boring lives and their boring dicks. Really. Gratuitous *boring* masturbation scenes, pointless 'and then he had sex with his wife who wasn't into it', frequent uncritical abusive treatment of said wives... UGH.

The only two stories I liked were the two from female POV or shared M&F POV, funny that. I do really like 'So Much Water So Close To Home', I think that's a very moving use of Carver's sparse realism...more
As far as I can remember I hadn't ever read a Raymond Carver Story before this compilation. They have a familiar feel to them though. Carver has a very spare style, to the point where his people have somewhat similar characteristics based on how simplified their speech is and how bare and raw their emotional and psychic states are. It kind of bothers me that this style is paired with characters who are all either working class or under/unemployed... or maybe it is more the time period (I am gues...more
Julia Boechat Machado
Esse é o primeiro livro que leio de Raymond Carver, e fiquei fascinada pela sua habilidade de contista. O primeiro conto, "Neighbors", sobre um casal que lentamente assume as vidas de um casal vizinho, que está viajando e cujo estilo de vida eles admiravam, é uma abertura fantástica.
"Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?" é sobre um homem que se torna obcecado com a idéia de que a mulher, com quem é casado desde a faculdade, o traiu.
"So Much Water So Close to Home" é sobre uma mulher que fica horror...more
David DeValera
Carver explores the neurotic undercurrents of urban dwellers. His characters are typically immersed in the Everyday where the repetitive force of the mundane has them mired in the mechanics of living: House-sitting, birthday parties, beer buddy fishing trips, boredom, initiation of an affair, two pals cruising, looking for thrills. From these commonplace events, Carver produces stories that are pristine, using language scrubbed clean of verbal theatrics--no show off words, no eccentric construct...more
Chris Gager
The rating is anticipatory as I haven't started yet. I've only read
one Carver book so far(there aren't that many, sadly) but it was a
five all the way. Never saw this movie though I've seen many of RA's
films, especially the earlier ones. 'Bout halfway through after reading
"Will You Please Be Quiet. Please." this morning;a perfect rendering
of a male betrayal fantasy. Be careful who you hand your ass to. It
might come back hamburger. It was a bit of a come down to realize that
I'd already read about...more
Leo ~ Sangue d'inchiostro
Avevano tutti il cuore spezzato. Però, lo stesso.

Quando ci si approccia alla letteratura americana una delle prime cose che saltano all'occhio è l’incredibile importanza che questa fetta di autori ha dato all'arte della short story. Sin da Salinger, passando per Yates e arrivando ai contemporanei Munro e Saunders, il racconto sembra essere il genere più propenso per esprimere la varietas di quello che è da sempre l’argomento preferito dagli scrittori americani: la vita quotidiana.
Carver non fa...more
Trixie Fontaine
I know I'm *supposed* to give this five stars, and it's just mind-boggling I've never read any Raymond Carver before this (except So Much Water So Close to Home, but without knowing how "important" it was or being able to remember why I felt like I'd seen the story take place right before my eyes -- which was because it was in the movie Short Cuts I finally realized when I saw this book at the library).

I've been given lots of quiet hints to read Raymond Carver and only recently picked up on them...more
Short stories are trick. It is hard to get the character and settings right since there is a limited number of pages to draw the reader in and make them care about the characters and their situations. When short story collections are done well they can be memorable parables or anecdotal hors d'oeuvres leaving the reader with anticipation for a delicious and exciting main course of a novel from the author. But when they are done poorly the reader the reader can feel resentful as if the author ser...more
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this collection--finished it in about 3 days, which is rare for me lately.

When I read, "A Small, Good Thing," I almost cried I was so moved. However, that was the only story amongst those featured in this volume that really wowed me. The rest were certainly entertaining (and impeccably written) but I just wasn't moved again--not like the continuous emotional maelstrom I felt when I read "Jesus' Son" or Kawabata's Palm-of-the-Hand stories. Perhaps it's that "A Small,...more
Todd Janko
I discovered Raymond Carver back in the day in college. To this day, he (maybe with the exception of Hemingway short stories) is probably one of the best short story writers to ever live. If you are not interested in short stories or just don't like reading, I suggest watching the Robert Altman film, Short Cuts. This is a top 5 movie for me, ranks up there with Vanilla Sky and One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest for me. This collection of stories takes place in LA, and they all blend into one anothe...more
As much as I can appreciate Carver's talent as a writer, his stories make me feel quite uncomfortable (I guess you could take that him being a good writer for evoking strong feelings, even if they are of distaste). His works are full to the brim with significant imagery and metaphor and he leaves most of his plot up to the interpretation of the reader, which is fascinating to begin with, but I found it a tad tiresome after finishing the nine short stories. I am also reading 'Will You Please Be Q...more
This was my first exposure to Carver and won't be my last. Some of these stories could be more appropriately named tensions. Most contemporary short stories follow a similar arc of plotless blow-your-mind moment-of-truth epiphany, but the sparseness seems to portray something different, like the capturing of a moment, or specific feeling. Must read more to figure it out. Some of these stories were desperately sad.

The collection was created as an accompaniment; these stories (and single poem) in...more
I don't know what life was before Carver. Seriously. He takes every day, small human interactions and play them out in such a rich, varied, complicated, disastrous, painful and intense way. Plus it's all written in such a simple and concise style. Amazing.
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Carver was born into a poverty-stricken family at the tail-end of the Depression. The son of a violent alcoholic, he married at 19, started a series of menial jobs and his own career of 'full-time drinking as a serious pursuit'. A career that would eventually kill him. Constantly struggling to support his wife and family Carver enrolled in a writing programme under author John Gardner in 1958 and...more
More about Raymond Carver...
What We Talk About When We Talk About Love Where I'm Calling From: New and Selected Stories Cathedral Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? Fires: Essays, Poems, Stories

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“And certain things around us will change, become easier or harder, one thing or the other, but nothing will ever really be any different. I believe that. We have made our decisions, our lives have been set in motion, and they will go on and on until they stop. But if that is true, then what? I mean, what if you believe that, but you keep it covered up, until one day something happens that should change something, but then you see nothing is going to change after all. What then? Meanwhile, the people around you continue to talk and act as if you were the same person as yesterday, or last night, or five minutes before, but you are really undergoing a crisis, your heart feels damaged…” 43 likes
“The past is unclear. It's as if there is a film over those early years. I can't even be sure that the things I remember happening really happened to me.” 3 likes
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