Christopher Roberts's Reviews > Where I'm Calling From: New and Selected Stories

Where I'm Calling From by Raymond Carver
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's review
Nov 10, 11

really liked it
bookshelves: currently-reading

The beginning few chapters were very relatable. The situations, the characters, and the very essence Carver injected into the stories instigated nostalgia, even when a story was nothing like my life. The characters are true, and that is something very rarely seen (I am not saying that this is the only good way to write characters, however, it is just nice to see). The endings are strange, almost never-ending (because real life is this way?). I can understand how critics could claim that Carver “refuses to endow the facts and events in his fiction with underlying significance”, a good example of this is Put Yourself In My Shoes. What do we take away from the ending, if anything? Yes, the characters are real, personalities and flaws and everything, but by the end of the story do we feel as though something has changed, do we feel that we have read something of significance? I have thoroughly enjoyed this book so far. I cannot stress how nice it is to read about people who feel like they could make up your family, friends and coworkers as apart from obvious creations to drive a plot. However, his endings leave me puzzled at times, questioning what his purpose for writing the story in the first place was.

I have noticed that each story seems to lead into the next. After reading one, I will pick up things in the next story, similar elements or themes. I like how these transitions lead from one to the next. I think the most obvious example of this is Distance and The Third Thing That Killed My Father Off. Both more morbid tales than what Carver seems to normally focus his writing on; normal people with problems many have, just trying to make it through the day, or the week, or their lives. Brief glimpses we can all relate to in some way or another. But sometimes it’s just little things that make up the story that seem to follow into the next, like the way J.P. touched his chin while thinking in Where I’m Calling From to the way Wes did the same, touching his chin while talking, in Chef’s House. I have enjoyed most, if not all the stories woven by Carver through his insight into the seemingly insignificant moments of our lives; and also the tales of broken hearts. Even though I have yet to finish the book, I think my favorite is Fever. I could truly feel the sadness welling within Carlyle through the entire story and it ends how it ends in the real world, not a happy ending exactly, just real.

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