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Short Cuts: Selected Stories

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  5,305 ratings  ·  315 reviews
The nine stories and one poem collected in this volume formed the basis for the astonishingly original film “Short Cuts” directed by Robert Altman. Collected altogether in this volume, these stories form a searing and indelible portrait of American innocence and loss. From the collections Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?, Where I’m Calling From, What We Talk About When We ...more
Paperback, Vintage Contempories, 157 pages
Published September 14th 1993 by Vintage
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Well, here it is. . . time to write my 600th review for Goodreads, and I realized yesterday as I boarded an airplane bound for home that I had 2 special books in my carry-on: Yehuda Amichai's Even a Fist Was Once an Open Palm with Fingers and a collection of selected stories by Raymond Carver, Short Cuts.

I knew that, in the 4 hours I was on the plane, I would finish both books and then wonder who'd have the more significant review, but I didn't realize, at the time, that I'd be able to pull both
Ahmad Sharabiani
‬‭‭Short cuts: Selected Stories, Raymond Carver
Short Cuts: Selected Stories (1993) – published to accompany the Robert Altman film Short Cuts.
Also, Short Cuts is a 1993 American comedy-drama film, directed by Robert Altman. Filmed from a screenplay by Altman and Frank Barhydt, it is inspired by nine short stories and a poem by Raymond Carver. The film has a Los Angeles setting, which substitutes the Pacific Northwest backdrop of Carver's stories. Short Cuts traces the actions of 22 principal cha
Jul 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
He read a Raymond Carver collection again. He hadn't read one in years. Never mind years. Decades. Only this wasn't Carver's doing, this collection. It was the work of director Robert Altman and Carver's widow, Tess Gallagher, a poet. Apparently a movie called Short Cuts was made of this particular mish-mash of stories. He'd like to see it, all right, how Altman made it all work. But it came out in 1993 apparently and he'd never heard of it, never mind seen it. Christ. Was that 27 years already? ...more
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
“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.”
― Raymond Carver, "So Much Water So Close to Home" in Short Cuts


Four stars mainly because there isn't much new here. Great here? Absolutely. Most of it is fantastic. Altman loved Carver and you can tell in the movie and his selections of stories. My first introduction to Carver was watching Altman's Short Cuts while still in high school. I like
Betsy Robinson
Dec 03, 2016 rated it liked it
I'd never read Carver before and probably won't read more even though I admired and liked his pithy "just-telling-what-happened" style. Most of these stories are slices of life: drinking men's dark nights of the soul, the unhappy women in their lives (even if the narrator is a woman), male violence, and the ultimate futility of existence. But then there was one story called "A Small Good Thing" about the death of a child, and it knocked the wind out of me. It was dark as well, but a lot more—wor ...more
Pixie Dust
May 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Robert Vaughan
If I could give this book ten stars, I would. I LOVE Ray Carver's book(s) so freaking much. I remember reading stories from this collection before I really decided to become an author, and his scope of storytelling made me write in my journal, even as an undergrad: I wish I wrote that sentence. About 100 times! I can't even remember how many times I have read just this one book of his, let alone other Carver books, also.

If you ever think you might not be a writer, or might not want to be in thi
This was my first foray into Raymond Carver's oeuvre. I expected to love this because of what I'd read about his writing and several of my favourite authors citing him as an inspiration. Clean, sleek minimalist short stories that pack a punch sounded just like my kind of thing.

And there were some brilliant stories, most notably "Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?" (what an amazing title too!), but others I found not really going anywhere. Also, due to the very minimalist style and the briefness,
Claire Fuller
Aug 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Stories about ordinary lives and ordinary people, where an extraordinary thing happens, or something not so extraordinary, but it becomes so by the action of the characters. I liked them all, I like Carver's style of writing (reminding me of Richard Yates, John Williams, even Richard Ford a bit) - matter of fact. But what is striking is how these stories end. They all finish at odd, but perfect points, as if the story isn't quite ended, but it is ended enough, as though Carver has allowed the re ...more
Joey Shapiro
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection was assembled to promote the Robert Altman movie Short Cuts, which adapts all these stories and weaves them into an interlocking broader story where all the characters cross paths through blind chance etc etc., Robert Downey Jr and Julianne Moore and Jennifer Jason Leigh and Lily Tomlin and Tom Waits are all in it and it rocks.

ANYWAY, there is some overlap with the Carver collection I hold near & dear, Cathedral, and those are without a doubt the best stories here. I think "A Sm
Jul 16, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
See my comment.
Nov 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Margaret Madden
One horrific character after another. The darkness within these men is written with mind-blowing simplicity. The American Dream gone bad. Love this collection!
Dec 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
My introduction to Carver; a Greatest Hits album of sorts. Going in I expected something similar to Bukowski - drunks and affairs and domestic violence. It certainly contained all of those things, but it had something Bukowski lacks - a humanity. A tenderness and an eye for life's little moments that can mean more than is expressible in words. Grieving parents sitting in a bakery eating cinnabuns or a woman attending a funeral of a girl she's never met.

That's not to say Carver is in anyway sappy
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I think I had probably read most of the stories before in other collections and also seen the Altman movie based on the stories. Carver's a brilliant writer, though very dark.
Chris Gager
Oct 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 rea
Dec 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My typical reaction when I finished reading any one of these stories in Short Cuts was to put the book down, puff my cheeks out, stare ahead into silence for a few moments, and let the story sink in. In the case of Tell the Women We're Going, my reaction was more shock than deep contemplation. Carver writes some of the beautiful, powerful closing lines.

His prose doesn't contain any fireworks. Each sentence is weighted carefully with a poetic grace. His writing is simple, spare, elegant and with
Apr 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"We will grow older, both of us, you can see it in our faces already, in the bathroom mirror, for instance, mornings when we use the bathroom at the same time. 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 ...more
Nov 28, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kendare Blake
Aug 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Carver can take the everyday and charge it with the profound. He's got the knack for taking normal life and tearing it up into ragged pieces. There is drama and nuance, and MENACE. And he does it all in this fantastic minimalist voice. If you like him, check out Andre Dubus.
Austin Farrell
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There isn't a Carver story I've read that I didn't think was absolute genius and so representative of modern American sensibilities. I read this before watching the Altman film in order to: 1. be respectful of Carver and 2. avoid incongruities between Carver's works and Altman's interpretation of those works. I guess this review is more about the relationship between these two artists' works. I believe Altman's goal with Short Cuts was his own vision of Carver's stories, that being they are stor ...more
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rarely has a book title been more apt. I haven't read anything by Raymond Carver before, and, truth be told, I didn't know a great deal about him, but after reading this collection, I'm definitely going to be seeking out more of his work. He's the story behind Hopper's paintings; each tale here is an ice cube, drenched in scotch-flavoured melancholy.
The first story in this collection, Neighbors, is a kind of desperate little farce, and wrong-footed me into thinking this might be a comedy of sort
Terry Clague
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Two things are certain: 1) people no longer care what happens; and 2) nothing makes any real difference any longer.

A stunningly good book, and one which is paradoxically both perfect & completely ill-suited to reading just before and after childbirth.
Mar 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
The fact the writer was drunk while writing this explains the context =))) sometimes I was like just “SHUT UP you ***** why are u writing thiss” =)))
Mar 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
Having read "Popular Mechanics," I know that I am capable of enjoying Raymond Carver. Unfortunately, none of the stories in this collection grabbed me as that one did.
Basim Ammoun
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
The one story that particularly got through to me was "Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?".
Apr 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing

I came across the film 1CShort Cuts 1D and made a bee-line to the Raymond Carver books I have on my shelves. Famous film director Robert Altman had chosen from a handful of his short stories to weave a story of woe and despair in 1980 19s Los Angeles. That 19s it 13 the land of sun, sand, limosines, and a lot of drugs and alcohol - Altman goes to the heart of Carver 19s stories and brings us all home.
Often, I suppose because Carver 19s stories are non-traditional, most people who have read him
Marco Etheridge
Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
What can anyone say that hasn't been said? It's Carver, who is now becoming a cult figure. Regardless, he was a great writer. How can I capture the essence of a Raymond Carver story? It is a difficult proposition. Let me try this: a small vignette.

It is a bright spring morning in Seattle. The neighbors are going about their business; tending to flower beds, mowing their lawns. I'm standing at the bottom of a short flight of stairs, stairs that lead to what is soon not to be my house. The woman w
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Carver was born into a poverty-stricken family at the tail-end of the Depression. 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. He saw this opportunity as a turni ...more

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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…” 84 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.” 17 likes
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