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230 pages, Paperback
First published September 15, 1983
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 short novels, in my opinion A Small, Good Thing deserves a special mention: an absolute masterpiece of unnatural perfection!
And for the record: a short story can tell more than a thousand novels.
La raccolta di dodici racconti di Raymond Carver rappresenta l'esempio perfetto di come mettere in subbuglio l'animo del lettore parlando di fatti quotidiani. Grazie anche ad una prosa semplice e minimale, Carver ha il grande pregio di intuire più di ogni altro autore che il quotidiano e l’ordinario, come un incidente domestico, il furto di un orologio o la morte stessa, sono quanto di più familiare ci lega alla vita. Il risultato è un terremoto emotivo in chi legge. Una menzione speciale merita per me "Una cosa piccola ma buona", capolavoro assoluto di innaturale perfezione!
Per la cronaca: un racconto può dire più di mille romanzi.
The peacock walked quickly around the table and went for the baby. It ran its long neck across the baby’s legs. It pushed its beak in under the baby’s pajama top and shook its stiff head back and forth. The baby laughed and kicked its feet. Scooting onto its back, the baby worked its way over Fran’s knees and down onto the floor. The peacock kept pushing against the baby, as if it was a game they were playing.
We drank coffee, pop, and all kinds of fruit juice that summer. The whole summer, that’s what we had to drink. I found myself wishing the summer wouldn’t end. I knew better, but after a month of being with Wes in Chef’s house, I put my wedding ring back on. I hadn’t worn the ring in two years. Not since the night Wes was drunk and threw his ring into a peach orchard.
“Jack London used to have a big place on the other side of this valley. Right over there behind that green hill you’re looking at. But alcohol killed him. Let that be a lesson to you. He was a better man than any of us. But he couldn’t handle the stuff, either.”
“Sandy’s husband had been on the sofa ever since he’d been terminated three months ago” (“Preservation”)
“I had a job and Patti didn’t. I worked a few hours a night for the hospital. It was a nothing job. I did some work, signed the card for eight hours, went drinking with the nurses. After a while, Patti wanted a job. She said she needed a job for her self-respect. So she started selling multiple vitamins door to door.” (“Vitamins”)
“This old station wagon with Minnesota plates pulls into a parking space in front of the window. There’s a man and woman in the front seat, two boys in the back. It’s July, temperature’s one hundred plus. These people look whipped. There are clothes hanging inside; suitcases, boxes, and such piled in back. From what Harley and I put together later, that’s all they had left after the bank in Minnesota took their house, their pickup, their tractor, the farm implements, and a few cows.” (“The Bridle”)
This friend of mine from work, Bud, he asked Fran and me to supper. I didn’t know his wife and he didn’t know Fran. That made us even. But Bud and I were friends.
“Wes, it’s all right, I said. I brought his hand to my cheek. Then, I don’t know, I remembered how he was when he was nineteen, the way he looked running across this field to where his dad sat on a tractor, hand over his eyes, watching Wes run toward him.” (“Chef’s House”)
“I’m thinking about chimney sweeps – all that stuff I heard from J.P. – when for some reason I start to think about a house my wife and I once lived in.” (“Where I’m Calling From”)
“Mrs. Webster looked at Carlyle and waved. It was then, as he stood at the window, that he felt something come to an end. It had to do with Eileen and the life before this. Had he ever waved at her?” ("Fever")
So we kept on with it. His fingers rode my fingers as my hand went over the paper. It was like nothing else in my life up to now.