KFed's Reviews > What We Talk About When We Talk About Love

What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
1246826
's review
Jul 14, 09


I'll announce the cliche of my loving this book before you beat me to it.

I'm an overeducated, mock-contemplative early-twenty-something with a penchant for strong male voices (despite my feminist leanings) and a distaste for anything too sentimental. I was raised in the tradition of "Show, Don't Tell" and hold this closer than even my favorite teddy (whose name is Atticus.) My middle name is "Minimalism." My other middle name is "Ooh, that sounds pretty."

With that out of the way, yes, of course I loved this volume, and probably for the reasons you'd expect.

Raymond Carver's name should be in lights. Everyone who likes this book is going to tell you that one of Carver's strengths is his knack for understatement. I'm guessing what they're getting at is Carver's ability to keep all the mechanics of his stories imperceptible beneath the surface, with maybe a few out-of-character exceptions (the alcohol device in the title story being one). There's also the fact that Carver seems to accomplish things in the span of one page that so many authors would kill many more trees (and possibly small children, and maybe even a puppy or two) to achieve; see the opening page of "Tell The Women We're Going" to see what I mean. How many authors can convincingly sum up the entire personal history of two characters in only one paragraph?

Beneath the tightness of each story there seems to be a distinctive pulse. Not the rhythm of the language. Rather, the kind of pure life energy that all artistic works strive for (or at least they should.) When stories took turns ("for the worst" is implicit), what startled me more than each outcome was often the fact that I was so moved by them each. It's because of this pulse that characters who existed for only 3 or 4 pages still seemed to walk off the page and become real. And that's probably what will make these stories linger in my memory.

People often seem to speak of "Raymond Carver's America" when they're trying to grasp these stories. I don't know what that means, or if Raymond Carver's America is anything like mine. Whatever it is, it's tortured and beautiful. And I like it.
126 likes · likeflag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.
sign in »

Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

dateDown_arrow    newest »

message 1: by Bram (new)

Bram DAMN that's a great review.


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

This is a good review.


message 3: by Maren (new)

Maren Walz Great review, and great teddy name :)


Shana brilliant.


message 5: by Linda (new)

Linda Earl Maybe being "over educated" paid off -- Stunning review!!


message 6: by Salman (new)

Salman contemplative early-twenty-something with a penchant for strong male voices (despite my feminist leanings) and a distaste for anything too sentimental. I was raised in the tradition of "Show, Don't Tell" and hold this closer than even my favorite teddy (whose name is Atticus.) My middle name is "Minimalism." My other middle name is "Ooh, that sounds pretty."

u just described me


message 7: by E (new) - rated it 5 stars

E As Salman commented above, that's the same as me. When I was thinking last night that this is probably going to turn out to be my favourite book, I also worried if it's cliche but my gosh is this man wonderful, his writing is terrific. Thanks for the review :3


message 8: by E (new) - rated it 5 stars

E As Salman commented above, that's the same as me. When I was thinking last night that this is probably going to turn out to be my favourite book, I also worried if it's cliche but my gosh is this man wonderful, his writing is terrific. Thanks for the review :3


message 9: by Anusha (new) - added it

Anusha Menon beautiful review. I especially love the ending.


message 10: by Riddhi (new) - added it

Riddhi that's a lovely review. i chanced upon this book because of murakami's 'What I talk about when I talk about running', and your review has just encouraged me to go find a copy =)


back to top