Where I'm Calling From: The Selected Stories
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Where I'm Calling From: The Selected Stories

4.43 of 5 stars 4.43  ·  rating details  ·  12,967 ratings  ·  682 reviews
A major collection of Carver's short stories, including seven new stories written shortly before the author's death in 1988.
Paperback, 430 pages
Published 1995 by Harvill Press (first published 1988)
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s.penkevich
Jun 04, 2014 s.penkevich rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to s.penkevich by: Peter
It ought to make us feel ashamed when we talk like we know what we're talking about when we talk about love.

Life has a way of breaking even the strongest of hearts, of dashing families, friendships and lovers against the cold rocks of reality, leaving hopes and dreams to drown beneath the waves of approaching days.Through his short life—the chord of life severed by his own vices—Raymond Carver (May 25, 1938 – August 2, 1988) created a body of work that dives into the wreckage of such lives to...more
Bonnie
5 stars

In keeping with my “study” of the short story, I figured it was about time I picked up Raymond Carver. (Call me a late-bloomer.) The only story I had previously read by him was Cathedral, which is excellent. This is basically a story about a skeptical, somewhat superficial man who is taught by a blind man how to “see”.

The 37 stories in this 526 page collection are arranged chronologically. The final story, called Errand, unpublished at the time of Carver’s untimely death, begins with the...more
Taylor K.
Jun 19, 2007 Taylor K. rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: men, modern literature fans, people who haven't read any Carver
A band I loved in high school -- Peter Parker, of course -- had a song named "Where I'm Calling From," which was based on the title of this book, so I was implored to pick it up.

I started read it there and then, and while I think some of the brilliance was hard for my young mind to grasp, there was plenty of it that I could appreciate, despite my naivete. "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" is one of my runaway favorites - I tried to do my own short story tribute to it (but failed miser...more
Tommy
Miles Davis once said, when asked why he played such minimalist, modal melodies when his contemporaries were going for the more fevered, manic sound of be-bop, "I try to only play the notes that matter."

That's Raymond Carver. Sparse, deceptively simple, and capable of tearing your soul out by hitting the right notes, consistently, and with purity.

Some of these stories sometimes didn't even strike me as I read them. I'd put the book down, walk away, and hours later, not be able to shake the image...more
Glenn Russell
The typical profile of an American adult reader of literature is a college-educated professional making a decent salary in a choice environment such as the publishing industry, law office, consulting firm or college or university. But how about the other America, populated by men and women worlds away from ever reading literary works, men and women living in the raw-boned land of work boots, crap jobs, hard liquor, chain smokes, trailer camps, hollering from foul mouths and breakdowns from beat-...more
Larry Bassett
When I read a book of short stories, I usually wait eagerly for the title story, the one that the book is named after. And then I wonder how that selection was made. In this case the stories are gathered from several previous collections but only one was chosen to be the title of the book. Often in the review of a book of short stories, like this one, the reviewer will summarize several stories to give you a flavor of the book. Other reviewers have done that with Where I’m Calling From so I will...more
Joseph
Nov 14, 2008 Joseph rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Joseph by: A professor I met in Croatia(East Michigan State) with whom I sp
Suffice it to say that Carver is universally recognized as one of the leading lights of Modern American Fiction.Admired by college professors as well as more casual readers, Carver is as enjoyable a read as you will find.Choosing his heroes from everyday life, Carver is that rare writer who is both well respected yet easy to read.
With Carver, it's difficult to choose a favorite.Each story is of the highest quality , a reflection of just how consistent a fine writer Carver is.While this collecti...more
Rahul
The Stories included here are:

Nobody Said Anything
Bicycles,Muscles,Cigarettes
The Student's Wife
They're not your Husband
What do you do in San Fransico?
Fat
What's in Alaska?
Neighbors
Put Yourself in My Shoes
Collectors
Why,Honey?
Are these actual Miles?
Gazebo
One More Thing
Little Things
Why Don't you Dance?
A Serious Talk
What We Talk About When We Talk About Love
Distance
The Third Thing That Killed my Father Off
So Much water so close to Home
The Calm
Vitamins
Careful
Where I'm Calling From
Chef's House
Fever
Feat...more
Emir Never
I wish I could be friends with Raymond Carver. It sounds crazy, I know, the guy being dead and all. But I can't help it. He wrote the kind of stuff I wish I could write or had written. It's heartbreaking.

Why four stars, I hear you asking. It's because I wish he'd written more, a novel perhaps, more stories, definitely. More. But he's gone.
Vale
Ciao Ray,
stasera pensavo a te. Ho preso la tua raccolta di racconti preferiti e ne ho riletti alcuni. Non capisco perché alcuni miei amici, pur apprezzandoti, ritengono che tu sia deprimente. Io trovo forza nelle tue storie, anche disperazione, ma nessuno dei tuoi personaggi si compiange e non fa nulla, anzi. C'è un' accecante passione verso la vita, il fare, il ripromettersi che la prossima volta non commetteranno lo stesso errore, anche se sbagliano ancora e ancora. Ma Dio, siamo uomini, no? C...more
Elizabeth (Alaska)
Why should a collection of short stories published in 1983 be included in Bloom's Western Canon, published in 1994? If the definition of the Western Canon is said to include those works which have most influenced Western culture, then surely this collection would not have had time to do so. Instead, I think it is a collection which reflects a small segment of that culture.

At first I read several stories in one sitting. They seemed so much alike to me that I decided to read one or two a few after...more
Kyle
Stories about people who are unhappy, will be unhappy, don't know they're unhappy, or are just getting over being unhappy and are almost always drunk or drinking either way. That's a generalization, but a pretty fair one. If you haven't read Raymond Carver before, you should.

Too much at one time and their tone becomes a dirge, and some stories are so Carveresque that they read like parodies of themselves (i.e. "One More Thing", "Little Things", and "A Serious Talk"), but for the most past they...more
Mary
I read most of the stories in here about six years ago, but I'm rereading "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" right now, and then maybe some others. It's because of this article from the New Yorker:

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/20...

and the version of that story that's also included that is supposedly Carver's preferred draft. The relationship between him and his editor is awfully unsettling to me, and I'd like to decide which version of the story I actually prefer. I just finishe...more
Manny
I seem to be one of the few people who managed to read this before seeing the Altman film Short Cuts, which is based on nine of the stories. I also like Short Cuts more than most of my friends. Possibly there's some connection.
Kat Hagedorn
http://tinyurl.com/4a63ub

There's something about reading short stories that really appeals to me. 1) They go by fast. 2) There's a whole cosmos in 10 pages. 3) Only the best can do them right.

I'd never read a Carver story, but I have seen Short Cuts (based on Carver stories). A couple of those are in this collection, notably "A Good Small Thing" (which you'll remember as the Lyle Lovett piece)-- breath-taking in its depth and breadth of emotion. Most of Carver's stories are about drinking and ex...more
Drew
Some good stuff, but a little hit or miss. Not sure whether I enjoy drunk Carver or sober Carver more.
Josh
Ray Carver has long been a literary touchstone for me-- because of his poetry, because of 'Short Cuts,' because of stories I'd read in various anthologies-- but this was the first time I sat down to read a whole short story collection of his, and I came away from it amazed by how consistently moving his work is. They are all simple stories at heart, rooted in careful observation of human brokenness, but they're told with grace, humor, and an eye for detail that keeps them buoyant, warm and envel...more
Mike Polizzi
http://gridpolitics.blogspot.com/2013...

"You got to understand what it comes down to is I don't know how to act anymore, it would seem. Please" the man said, "let me ask if you can find it in your hearts to forgive me."

I just finished Where I'm Calling From: Selected Stories by Raymond Carver. It's an interesting way to read Carver. Take the line above from A Small, Good Thing, which mirrors Dante's (translation via Robin Kirkpatrick) "At one point midway on our path in life,/ I came around and...more
William
I first read Raymond Carver in 1993, and enjoyed the few pieces I read. I never forgot his name, and in 2005 purchased this book, a collection of his best work. It has been on the top of my TBR pile ever since.
It is almost impossible to miss the slow and subtle changes in Carver's writing style as he delivers this collection to us. The first 15 stories are rarely more than fifteen pages long, sparsely detailed and not always clear about what the author is trying to say. The best of this first lo...more
David Gillespie
Published in 1989, Where I'm Calling From is a collection of short stories from Raymond Carver. This volume is a great introduction to Carver's stories because it represents a selection of his best work from every phase of his career. Raymond Carver was a master of making a slice of life universal. His stories have hardly any plot and character is revealed rather than described. His character's lives are distilled into a few scenes where the reader can grasp a universe of unspoken meanings. The...more
Alex
Nov 10, 2011 Alex is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I don't have much to say about this book besides that it is a struggle to read. It is not a struggle in the sense of being challenging or witty- it's just a very slow walk through very dull collection. Although this author tries to spice his dull 60's life of the 'everyman' up with adultery and and drugs use, I still find myself checking how many more pages I have to suffer through. Usually I'm all for books about the dirty underbelly of a perfect society, but this is dull and mediocre writing....more
Aprile
21 novembre 2011
Ieri SKY+qualcosa ha dedicato la serata alla regia di Altman. Inizio a guardare America Oggi e dopo pochi minuti sono un po’ confusa – so di non aver mai visto il film, ma lo conosco - mi informo e realizzo che è basato sui racconti di Raymond Carver. Dopo essermi detta: quanto ignori, ragazza mia, me ne sono fatta una ragione e ho voluto ben predispormi alla visione, nella volontà di rettificare la mia opinione su Carver che, come ho scritto precedentemente ma qui sotto – non av...more
Kaitlynn Goward
Where I'm Calling From by Raymond Carver was an amazing book. It amazed me that he could portray such a deep and meaningful story of his life through the stories of others. He used fictional stories to portray his troubles in life.

In this book we see a lot of smoking cigarettes, doing drugs, broken relationships, violence, cheating, and a sense of being alone. In the beginning we see this happy couple that get married and decides to start a family. They have a baby and are extremely happy at fir...more
Christian Engler
Raymond Carver was a master of the short story form. Often categorized as a minimalist writer, the label is (for me) quite misleading, if not totally inaccurate. His language is sparse and to-the-point, true, but his themes and plots which encompass the dredges of everyday unpleasantness are vast and larger-than-life. They almost explode off the pages until the reader has to take a break because too much grim reality is not easy to digest. The reader becomes passionate about the characters, hope...more
Adrian Stumpp
Raymond Carver is generally accepted as the master of the contemporary American short story, and while I have a knee-jerk balk at such high praise of Carver's work, no one more deserving of the epithet comes immediately to mind. Don't get me wrong. I love Carver. He's a very good, very talented, subtle, and perceptive writer. On the other hand, I do not believe he's a very good stroyteller. What he pens aren't exactly page-turners. I've read stories that were difficult to describe because so muc...more
Taka
Solid and compellingly readable--

There are so many good stories in this collection. From the early stories, "They're Not Your Husband," "Fat," "Neighbors," and "Why Honey," are my favorites. And "Are These Actual Miles?" is probably the best among them, reminiscent of the ending of A Requiem for a Dream in plot.


Since I'd read the stories from What I Talk About When I Talk About Love, I skipped those and plunged into his later writings. Among these, I thought "Vitamins," "Chef's House," and "Feve...more
daniel silliman
Raymond Carver is amazing. His work can be emotionally devastating. I love the way his prose feels like fall: clear, cold, sharp, and filled with ambiguous sadness. I most love these paragraphs where Carver describes men and women and it's spiritually completely crushing but the descriptions, actually, are all concrete, with just details, and he could be describing a couple in love or in hate, intimacies or estrangement. The descriptions themselves mean more and less. Examples:

"He sat down on on...more
Ally Armistead
How do you review a legend like Raymond Carver? Infamous short story writer, the voice of his generation, master storyteller among critics? Very carefully, I should say, especially when you're trying to figure out what, exactly, all the buzz is about, and when you only truly loved less than a 1/3 of the entire collection.

Don't get me wrong, I am appreciative of this collection, and glad to have read it. For one thing, I am in love with the way Carver can hover in the cracks and crannies of desp...more
Matthew
Carver's stories are, I think, about isolation - a desolate, friendless, ugly isolation -- and the fault lines in our relationships or alternatively irreconcilable attitudes and differences that caannot be bridged . I see most of his stories are portraits, in thes sense that while stuff happens, the plot serves not to develop but really to describe character. This is by no means a criticism, carver is really a powerful and acute observer of people, and he is able to use an accumulation of tiny s...more
Grant
this review will provide a review, at least for the time being, to all his books listed on my profile. because i'm lazy. but i love his stories and his poetry but his stories especially. they are about people who are on their way down, or who are there or have been there and wondering when things will turn their way. because these people are either just coming to terms with the fact that not everything in life is in their control or they have met that reality. they are not just alcoholics, thoug...more
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Book review 2 5 Aug 03, 2014 05:12PM  
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  • Sixty Stories
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  • The Wonders Of The Invisible World
  • The Early Stories
  • The Dead Fish Museum: Stories
  • The Collected Stories
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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 Cathedral Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? Short Cuts: Selected Stories Fires: Essays, Poems, Stories

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“I loved you so much once. I did. More than anything in the whole wide world. Imagine that. What a laugh that is now. Can you believe it? We were so intimate once upon a time I can't believe it now. The memory of being that intimate with somebody. We were so intimate I could puke. I can't imagine ever being that intimate with somebody else. I haven't been.” 416 likes
“I've crossed some kind of invisible line. I feel as if I've come to a place I never thought I'd have to come to. And I don't know how I got here. It's a strange place. It's a place where a little harmless dreaming and then some sleepy, early-morning talk has led me into considerations of death and annihilation.” 273 likes
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