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Cathedral

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  26,862 ratings  ·  1,446 reviews
Raymond Carver’s third collection of stories, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, including the canonical titular story about blindness and learning to enter the very different world of another.  These twelve stories mark a turning point in Carver’s career and “overflow with the danger, excitement, mystery and possibility of life. . . . Carver is a writer of astonishing com ...more
Paperback, 230 pages
Published June 18th 1989 by Vintage Contemporaries (first published September 15th 1983)
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Vivia Boe This short story leaves an impression that stays with you; no need to re-read.
Perfectly constructed and a classic for the ages. A great entryway to t…more
This short story leaves an impression that stays with you; no need to re-read.
Perfectly constructed and a classic for the ages. A great entryway to the less uplifting stories for which Raymond Carver is so justly famous. Right up there with the best short stories you have ever read.(less)

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Average rating 4.28  · 
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 ·  26,862 ratings  ·  1,446 reviews


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Luca Ambrosino
Apr 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
English (Cathedral) / Italiano

This collection of twelve stories by Raymond Carver is the perfect example of how to compromise the reader's frame of mind by talking about daily events. Thanks also to a minimal prose, Carver has the great virtue of guessing more than any other author that the everyday and the ordinary, such as a home accident, a watch robbery or even the death are the most familiar events that bind us to life. The result is an emotional earthquake in the reader. Among the twelve s

...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Cathedral (stories), Raymond Carver
Cathedral is the third major-press collection of short stories by American writer Raymond Carver, published in 1983. The collection contains the following stories: "Feathers", "Chef's House", "Preservation", "The Compartment", "A Small, Good Thing" - An extended version of his earlier short story "The Bath". "Vitamins", "Careful", "Where I'm Calling From", "The Train", "Fever", "The Bridle", "Cathedral" - Narrated by a man whose wife is old friends with a blin
...more
Glenn Russell
Mar 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing

American author Raymond Carver (1938-1988) - master of the short-story

A dozen Raymond Carver stories collected here as part of the 1980s Vintage Contemporaries series. Since other reviewers have commented on all twelve, I’ll share some short-short cuts from the title story, my reflections on Carver doozy, a story I dearly love. Here goes:

CATHEDRAL

The Blind Man: The narrator’s wife is bringing her old friend, a blind man, home for a visit since the blind man made the trip to Connecticut to visit
...more
Robin
"Dreams, you know, are what you wake up from."

My heart is in my throat after finishing this magnificent collection. I've spent most of the day reading these stories, as I can't think of anything else I'd rather do.

This is both Carver's third collection and the third one I've read. This time, his work was published without the ruthless editorial hand of Gordon Lish, which is evidenced by longer, more detailed stories. It feels like Carver was stretching his legs a bit here, with pretty great
...more
Glenn Sumi
Raymond Carver is one of the most influential writers of the late 20th century, and this volume, published five years before his tragically early death at 50, has the feel of an American classic.

It includes some of his most famous short stories: “Feathers,” “Chef’s House," “A Small, Good Thing,” “Vitamins,” “Where I’m Calling From” and the mysterious title tale.

I’ve read and studied some of the stories before, but this was my first time reading the book cover to cover. Here are a few observatio
...more
Sr3yas
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had no Idea who Raymond Carver was before I picked this collection of short stories. Of course, I asked the great oracles of the Internet to feed me information about him, and they told me that Mr.Carver is one of the American literary gods who revived the dying short story literary form in the 80s. My primary concern was for the short story medium that almost died in the 80s, and don't worry, I checked and they are thriving nowadays.

As I read Carver's stories, I understood that he is a maestr
...more
Diane S ☔
Nov 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very interesting short, showcasing a blind man who doesn't let his blindness limit him in any way. Turns a skeptic, who was uncomfortable about his blindness, into a man who lesrns by the gift of touch. There are many different ways of seeing, and not all use sight.
David Schaafsma
After two collections of beautifully written, lean but grim and mercilessly sad working class stories, Carver lets the reins loose a bit in this 1983 collection, allowing some of the stories to expand just a bit, in various ways. Almost all of the stories in Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? (1976) and What We Talk About When We Talk About Love (1981) are about working-class people on the edge of tragedy, or seen at the end of a slow tragic decline, though it’s not classic tragedy, of a great ma ...more
Paul Bryant
Dec 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Just another genius collection of laconic grimly funny or just grim short stories by Carver, like his other four. My favourites :

“Feathers”. A guy and his wife are invited for dinner at a workmate’s house. Bud and Olla have a peacock and a really ugly baby. (“Even calling it ugly does it credit.”)

“Preservation”. A guy loses his job and his life disintegrates. The fridge breaks down. His wife gets ready to go to an auction to buy a new one. That's all, folks.

“A Small Good Thing”. A boy is hit b
...more
Dustin
Nov 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This book changed my life, sent me on my way to becoming a writer, and quite literally was the reason my girlfriend and I got together. Yeah. Soul mates. Me and Carver.
PattyMacDotComma
3.5★
"On her last day in the office, the blind man asked if he could touch her face. She agreed to this. She told me he touched his fingers to every part of her face, her nose - even her neck! She never forgot it . . . Now this same blind man was coming to sleep in my house."


The narrator's wife worked for the blind man for a year in his office then left to get married, but they stayed in touch sending tapes back and forth for years. Now he's coming to visit her and her second husband (the narrato
...more
Connie G
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read "Cathedral", the titular short story in this collection. The narrator and his wife are visited by Robert, a longtime friend and past employer of the wife. The narrator is meeting Robert for the first time and feels superior because Robert is blind.

The story has a theme about seeing with one's eyes contrasted with seeing and understanding things below the surface. Robert may be blind, but he has the deeper understanding.
PGR Nair
Aug 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The title Story "cathedral" is one of the best American stories of last century.

The theme is the communication gap that isolates relationships. The narrator drinks too much and seems unable to adequately communicate with his wife. The wife has earlier tried to commit suicide because of loneliness. Both the narrator and his wife are unable to effectively communicate with one another; however, his wife communicates freely and well with the blind man. The narrator is very resistant to getting to kn
...more
Cody
May 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favoritism
For reasons that become increasingly clear to me as I age, Raymond Carver will always be my short story God. Having just put down Cathedral, I think I can put my finger on it a bit better than usual. So grab a beer, put your feet up—here’s the ashtray. I’m gonna do a little bit of testifying.

As much as I’d like to be Rocketman, Alaric Darconville, or Ishmael, the fact of the matter is that I’m nothing more or less than a character in a Carver story. I’m a person—unexceptional by almost every mea
...more
Steve
Jul 27, 2007 rated it it was ok
After years of being told that Raymond Carver was the epitome of quality short story writing I finally read one of his books. I'm all in favour of sparse, concise prose that describe the minutiae of everyday life if it offers reveals the extraordinary within the ordinary. With many of the stories in "Cathedral" I kept thinking, "And...?" I did not feel that Carver's subtle observations amounted to any great insight. The only story that lingers in my mind is "A Small, Good Thing" in which a coupl ...more
AC
Sep 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
On finishing this magnficent collection, I am moved -- Carver is a gem. The final story, in particular, strikes home, since I once spent many hours in College with a guy who was blind as a stone, sitting up late hours, also (as in Cathedral), passing the hooch.... and talking about being blind and seeing and colors and sounds.... what a loss, Carver's early death! Oh, what a loss...

I've now read the three collections -- and the feeling of sadness that there's not another one... just sort of smot
...more
Bionic Jean
Cathedral is a highly regarded short story by the American writer and poet, Raymond Carver. It was first published in 1983. Here is the opening:

“This blind man, an old friend of my wife’s, he was on his way to spend the night. His wife had died. So he was visiting the dead wife’s relatives in Connecticut … She hadn’t seen him since she worked for him one summer in Seattle ten years ago. But she and the blind man had kept in touch. They made tapes and mailed them back and forth. I wasn’t enthusia
...more
Cbj
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"You guys keep talking about the virtues of simplicity—I’ll show you. There’s absolutely nothing to simplicity ....." - Norman Mailer

I love Raymond Carver's short stories. But after reading three collections, I feel like anyone could write like him if they practiced. It is a style that is quite easy to imitate. I guess he got there first. So, well done.

I liked the following stories in the collection:

Feathers - Two couples meet for dinner. There is a peacock at the house of the couple who are t
...more
Trevor
Perfection. Every story in this collection is gold. Raymond Carver is on another level when it comes to writing stories that encapsulate real life and real people, especially the ones who are so often skipped over in literature. There is darkness here, but also hope. Out of the three collections of Carver's I have read, this one had the most redemption.

My favorites:

A Small, Good Thing - I don't often cry, while reading or any other time really, but by the end of this story I had shed a few
...more
Steven Godin
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Third collection of Carver's work I have now read, and although I didn't feel it hit the heights of 'What We Talk About When We Talk About Love' he again produces some quite remarkable short stories, with a scrupulously simple prose full of compassion and honesty, all with a keen eye set only on describing and revealing the world as he sees it. He manages to create situations that are so breathtakingly real, and all done in such a short space of time.

I have been a huge admirer of Richard Yates'
...more
Eric
Dec 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is the collection where Carver shakes off the label of "minimalist".

His previous editor, Gordon Lish, was known for paring Carver's stories down to the bone. But in this collection, free from Lish's pencil, he is able to be more expansive. The stories still concern average shmoes living clumsy lives, but now Carver gives himself the space for more incident. More emotional nuance. Not only that, but he's funnier, and he was fairly funny to begin with.

I read a volume of his poems recently. Li
...more
J.P.
Sep 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: short story writers, short fiction fans
On Christmas Eve, 1989, I sat in my room as snow fell outside. I was 20 years old. That night, I read this book cover-to-cover. I didn't mean to---Carver's voice and characters just grabbed hold of me and wouldn't let go. It's one of the few books I've ever read in one sitting.

These characters, I found, weren't like 'made-up' people from most other fiction I'd read up to that time. They were my friends, neighbors, coworkers---and to some extent, me.

Upon completing Cathedral, I was certain of t
...more
sleeps9hours
Nov 12, 2009 rated it did not like it
Depressing short stories about working-class Americans. He’s a decent writer, but spare, and the subject matter is everyday tragedy. Abrupt endings. Seen as a “realist”, but he lives in a banal and cynical kind of reality. ALL of his characters are awful people with huge flaws and petty prejudices. Recommended by a writer friend, maybe more enjoyable if all you want to do is analyze the writing.

From "Feathers"—about a family with an ugly baby and a peacock for a pet.

p. 23 Olla watched Fran with
...more
Ilana
My first book by Raymond Carver. I admire everything he manages to packs into each story but have always had trouble picking up on symbolism and reading into deeper meanings than what I feel intuitively and have difficulty verbalizing. One recurring theme is the difficulty we have communicating with one another and with understanding ourselves. This is borne out with repeated references to heavy drinkers and alcoholism; how so many people choose this easy escape in a glass to deal with inconveni ...more
Chrissie
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
A free online link to the short story Cathedral is found here: httHow do people best communicateps://www.thelondonmagazine.org/cathedral-b...

Review of the one story Cathedral:

How do people best communicate? By touch?

Communication is the means by which a thought, an idea, a message passes from one individual to another. Words are what first come to mind, but visually we can read another’s disposition and through one person’s touch of another communication is passed too.

A very good short story. T
...more
Gretchen
Aug 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult-fiction
Cathedral is a collection of short stories by Raymond Carver. Each story explores everyday moments in humanity, as well as common issues like relationships and alcoholism. Carver’s writing style is minimalist, so there are no moments of long description of setting or characters. Carver focuses on plot and themes, and each story ends with a slight cliffhanger, leaving it up to the reader to decide what happens.

I read this book for my Contemporary American Literature class, and I loved it. All the
...more
Momina Masood
Sep 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Our Favorite Faded Fantasies

Carver winds and unwinds the silken threads which hold us together, our essential vulnerability as human beings, our failures, our disappointments. What I have loved about this set of stories is their tenderness and silence. Men and women are explored in a discreet, subtle writing style that is very effective. It implies and leaves much to the imagination but in a way that is not cerebral at all; rather the things Carver leaves unsaid are those we understand to the bo
...more
Derek
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I just now finished the story "A Small, Good Thing," and I want to share something. Raymond Carver is amazing. His writing translates human behavior and ordinary experiences into something warm, comforting and profound. His perspective on human behavior seems spiritual, and he uses words like a poultice that heals a wound.

More to come...
The final story, from which the book gets its title, is a great one. Don't let yourself be put off by the main character being an ass. The story has a positive m
...more
Kurt Reichenbaugh
May 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Stories that are soaked in alcohol, failure and menace. I've read a few of these stories from other anthologies. I've had this collection and his Talk about Love collection for many years. I'm always drawn to these sort of stories about nothing told by people you've known. Maybe they're out of style now, I don't know. I'll probably read a few of them again 30 years from now and remember that girl I dated in college 30 years ago who smoked too much pot and left me for an older guy who claimed he ...more
Sara
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
I believe this short-story is one that would be open to many interpretations, so mine might or might not have any semblance to yours. I thought it was about prejudices, preconceived ideas, and walking a mile in another man's shoes.
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Classics and the ...: * Cathedral 19 41 Nov 14, 2019 11:59AM  
Best short story in this collection? 6 44 Oct 30, 2017 04:50PM  
Questions on the Ending of Raymond Carver's Cathedral 2 69 Mar 12, 2014 04:23PM  

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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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