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Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  15,338 ratings  ·  993 reviews
With this, his first collection, Carver breathed new life into the short story. In the pared-down style that has since become his hallmark, Carver showed us how humour and tragedy dwelt in the hearts of ordinary people, and won a readership that grew with every subsequent brilliant collection of stories, poems and essays that appeared in the last eleven years of his life.
Paperback, 181 pages
Published 2003 by Vintage Random House (first published March 1st 1976)
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Brechtje Spoorenberg Yes! I fully recognize your feeling. By the end of almost every story I am somehow disappointed. I don't know about the biographical parallel, but may…moreYes! I fully recognize your feeling. By the end of almost every story I am somehow disappointed. I don't know about the biographical parallel, but maybe this is just nog my cup of tea.(less)

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Apr 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2012
And here it is...the best collection of short stories I've ever read.

Where has Carver been all my life? Why did no one slap me over the head with his work fifteen years ago? I mourn that it took me this long to discover him and now I must get my little claws on everything Carver asap.

How the heck can a writer capture so much power into super-short stories. I'm talking ten page stories. How?! Each one is a stand alone masterpiece with so much authenticity and sense of reality and yet, they are a

Just as Flannery O'Connor's stories take place at a pivotal turning point in her characters' lives, Raymond Carver's are centred over a make-it-or-break-it moment. You see, it's the breaking that matters to Carver, the breaking that he captures through his unflinching lens. His stories (which are truly short, often 6-8 pages) bring us straight into the broken heart, and we are left at the end to imagine or envision what comes next. What comes next isn't as important as the breaking, the crisis,
Dave Schaafsma
Had to drive a bit and I just happened to see this as an audiobook edition of the collection from a master short story writer, one of the best ever, imo; he is sometimes referred to disparagingly as a "K-mart realist." In other words, a working class writer, writing about the down and out. Since I grew up working class, I have always liked the world out of which Carver writes. He's a minimalist in the tone of Edward Hopper. Or think of him as a working-class Hemingway; no adverbs, everything str ...more
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“Not in pictures she had seen nor in any book she had read had she learned a sunrise was so terrible as this.”
― Raymond Carver, "The Student's Wife" in Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?


A collection of 22 short stories averaging about 6-8 pages each (a couple might stray into the 11-15 page range) that Carver wrote during what Carver called his "Bad Raymond days" or "First Life" (1960-1974) . Disclosure, like in other short story collections, I may have put one star too many on some of these and
Steven Godin
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it

It's a little difficult to be quiet when short story writing is this good.

I feel I should be shouting from the rooftops -

"Read Raymond Carver!"

No doubt someone will look up in bewilderment and shout back "Will You Please Be Quiet, Please!"

This is Carver's first published collection of short stories, but the one I read last, after 'Cathedral',
'What We Talk About When We Talk About Love' (my personal favourite), and 'Elephant and Other Stories'. Carver didn't just breathe new life into the short s
This has been one of the most rewarding, most enjoyable years I've had in more than two decades of being an insatiable reader. I've discovered new authors to idolize, fallen even harder for longstanding heroes, experienced the rabid glee of revisiting much-loved works and immersed myself in genres that I suddenly cannot live without. Unfortunately, the awe of January's introduction to the raw beauty of Raymond Carver (who has forever changed my interest in and opinion of short stories for the be ...more
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction-america
These stories are uniformly bleak, piercing vignettes into the disappointments and insecurities of working class people. The relentlessness of the raw pain on display here was very stark and at times very, very difficult to continue reading. That being said, these are some of the most beautifully written stories you are likely to come across, even if you need to take some time to recuperate in between finishing one and starting another.
Paul Bryant
Dec 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing
You can use this book as an antidote to Donald Barthelme. And then if you get too minimal you can add a bit of Barthelme back into the mix. Like a cocktail. I can't imagine those two would get on in shortstorywriterheaven. I bet the Minimalists and the Pomos have vicious football matches every Sunday. Brute strength and singleness of purpose vs. fancy footwork and sneering.

Note on Short Cuts by Robert Altman, a movie made out of Carver stories : surprisingly, nay, amazingly, it's great. In true
May 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: shorties
Carver's stories made me feel from uncomfortable to deeply sad. They all feel like a sunset in a small town with the smell of damp soil in the air and the yellow grass shining like gold against the sun. Don't ask me to explain it, but even the ones that take place on cold, winter nights felt like that to me. I never thought that such short stories could be so whole, so full of meaning and human emotions.
The titular story is a masterpiece in itself.
3 and a half stars, rounded up because it demands a re-read in the future.

In my experience, American realism is about minimalism, simplicity and directness. And while Carver’s prose is clean, minimalist, simple and direct, his stories truly are anything but. My husband strongly recommended his work to me, and I picked up his first published collection (instead of the more famous “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love”) because the title made me smile. That smile did not last long; it was qu
L.S. Popovich
Mar 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
I surprised myself with this second reading by not wanting to give the collection 5 stars. Carver's first collection is relatively short - as was everything he published - the man was not very prolific. I'll review his major publications as I get through them in the LOA collection, then read the Poetry and uncollected stories and essays. All told, about 1600 pages of material by Carver exists. This first 181 pages of it is middling Carver - him feeling out the style which would come to redefine ...more
I'm not sure whether I've given five stars to a collection of short stories before, but these were outstanding. Carver's penetrating depictions of the ordinary and extraordinary struggles of married life are refreshingly honest, gritty and disturbing. He finds simple moments that are filled with subtle implications, and he has this way of just walking away and leaving unsaid the most salient element of the story, forcing the reader to adopt the anguish of the characters, and denying any catharti ...more
Barry Pierce
Oohhh I like Carver. Nothing happens in this short stories, they're great. This collection is very good, there are some bumps along the road but that's to be expected in a collection of 22 stories. I'll definitely be reading more Carver. ...more
May 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
None of Carver's collections are any less than *****worthy but the stories, apparently so powerfully simple and elemental, are strangely different with each revisit. Maybe the simpler the tale the more space for the changing reader. ...more
Ben Winch
Oct 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A recent discussion of “The Canon” here on Goodreads prompts me to write this review of a writer who, like it or not Pynchon and McElroy fans, will probably enter the canon. “Will you please be quiet, please?” The line is Hemingway’s and, though it’s quoted by Carver in the text, is repurposed as title-story by editor/mentor Gordon Lish with, I can’t help feeling, a sly nod to all those “postmodernists” intent on outdoing Joyce or Melville. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but hell, is ...more
Sarah Etter
Aug 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
i do not understand why i am never sick of raymond carver. somehow, i just plow through every story, even though most of the time it's clear it's going to end up like most carver stories do - with some bloody thread hanging there untied, hinting at something really awful.

but out of all of his short story collections (minus, you know, the big one of all the stories), this one is my favorite, i think. maybe it's because it opens with a fat man from the circus in a diner. that's very possibly the

Description: With this, his first collection, Carver breathed new life into the short story. In the pared-down style that has since become his hallmark, Carver showed how humour and tragedy dwell in the hearts of ordinary people, and won a readership that grew with every subsequent brilliant collection of stories, poems and essays that appeared in the last eleven years of his life.

Had this onhold for so long that this visit is a complete reboot. Carver wrote as Hopper painted, maybe the connecti
Maru Kun
“He lies on his back for a time and pulls the hair on his stomach, considering.”

What man has not done this? Whether part of God’s grand design or good old fashioned evolution Raymond Carver has revealed to the world the purpose of male stomach hair: an aid to male cognition. I wonder what women do?

As well as being full of acute observations about male stomach hair and other aspects of human behavior these stories are full of the psychology of things unsaid or understandings not shared. As we
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So far, I love Raymond Carver. If you like disfunctional (and sometimes functional) love / family stories, this is for you. He reminds me of Ray Bradbury in a strange way, though Bradbury was a much kindler, gentler version of Carver. Carver is more about what life is actually likely to serve you up, versus what is ideal.
Aug 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Due back to the library today, they only have one copy and it's a big library system with many branches, I once read that Carver is one of the authers whose's books are most stolen, maybe that is why they only have one. The librarian wouldn't give the address or even a name of the person who requested it. I can't fathom why, all I would do was contact whoever it was and say to them , "You read Carver and so do I, What's your most favorite one and hey let's get coffee, cause us readers have to st ...more
Nick Pageant
Feb 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to Maya and Sofia for the BR.

This is a tricky collection of stories. All are very subtle and simple. I loved it.
Apr 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a collection of strange and disturbing short stories with weird titles, elusive meanings and rather abrupt endings. Raymond Carver has a unique way of offering us a glimpse into the inner lives of his characters. He uses their physical actions and bursts of short conversation but very little actual description of what the character is going through. It is all about the way the stories make you feel. Most of the stories involved a random happening in the life of an individual or a couple ...more
Oct 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. Great stories with superb characterisation. I especially loved the dialogues—they were utterly brilliant! The reason why I could not give this wonderful collection a higher rating was because they were too many cliffhangers. Open-ended stories are lovely but when there are too many of them, it makes the reader feel impatient:..
Aug 11, 2014 rated it really liked it

Reading such stories about the everyday minutae of American life without the political or Hollywood hype sometimes makes me sad. It does make me compare my life which is far away from America and see what's the same and the differences. Basically though I see the universal realities, basic human needs remain the same, basic human insecurities remain the same, different culturals then jump in to add more difficulty, like different perceptions of how to live a good life, priorities etc. I like exp
Marcus Hobson
Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was good to come to this book cold, knowing very little about Carver or his reputation and life story. I’m not sure why I had never read any of his stories before, but I’m glad that I have started now.

Two initial impressions from the twenty-two stories in this collection. First is about period – I felt they transcended a particular period and as a result I found it hard to place them in a particular age. First published in the 1970s they could easily date back to the 1950s. It also means they
Some of the stories deserve a hundred stars... and applause, and fireworks, and a little dread.
Mar 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection was my introduction to Raymond Carver, a writer who I’ve been eager to read for a long time since I found out he was writing buddy to one of my favourites of all time, John Cheever. The Stories of John Cheever is a prized possession in my bookcase. They are a revelation to me; despite their brevity, the poetic force and lyricism is sometimes more than I can find in a single novel.

But enough about Cheever. Carver is quite a different proposition. To begin with, he mainly focuses
Portal in the Pages
Perfectly lovely stories, just not my thing.
I buddy read this with Richard Reads based on his recommendation and I have to say, buddy reading short stories might be my new favorite. It was interesting to see how differently (and similarly!) we interpreted stories.
This was a great collection reflecting lower class/working class families and the struggles they face. There were some about the tension in relationships based around work, money, and boredom. There were some about how families interact and how neighborhoods function in the work
Brendan Monroe
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
I've been on a real kick lately of reading books about nothing. It is so much more impressive for a writer to draw you in using nothing more than words than it is for them to spin a magnificently plotted yarn. Or at least I think so (see: Norwegian writer - and current obsession - Karl Ove Knausgaard).

But Carver's short stories only SEEM to be about nothing, or at least, they did to me on my first reading. I started this collection two months ago now, thinking that I'd be able to bulldoze my way
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Will you please be quiet, please ? BR Maya, Nick & Sofia 6th Feb 2016 126 38 Feb 10, 2016 11:55AM  
Boekenliefhebbers...: Raymond Carver 1 12 Nov 16, 2012 12:56PM  

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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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