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Cathedral Paperback – 4 Sep 2003

4.5 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Paperback, 4 Sep 2003
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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New edition edition (4 Sept. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099449854
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099449850
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 1.5 x 19.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 677,931 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'All the stories in Cathedral are different; some funny, some hauntingly sad. Each has its own individual and curious power' Daily Telegraph

Book Description

'All the stories in Cathedral are different; some funny, some hauntingly sad. Each has its own individual and curious power' Daily Telegraph (2003-03-03)

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Like his stories, this collection of Raymond Carver's work leaves us wanting more. It also provides a good overview of his regular themes and illustrates the breadth of his scope.
Before he died in 1988 at the age of 50, Carver had proved himself to be the greatest modern exponent of the short story in America. The stories in this collection include 'A Small, Good Thing', which was awarded the 1983 O. Henry Award. It also includes my favourite Carver story: the title story, 'Cathedral', which is so packed with emotion, clarity of thought, beauty and pain as to leave one breathless with admiration.
In my view, the short story is the pinnacle of prose writing and Carver is one of its few consistently successful exponents. This collection proves both points.
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By A Customer on 13 July 2003
Format: Paperback
Although I rate this 5 stars, I thought this book was less acomplished than "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love". For example, this collection has a story called "A Small, Good Thing" about a baker nuisance-calling the parents of a boy who has been run over. (This story was part of the Carver-short-story-based film "Short Cuts".) In "What We Talk About ..." there's an earlier (I presume) version of this story, which I think's more subtle, without the rather sentimental ending of "A Small, Good Thing", and which doesn't strain credulity in the way this story does (it's never explained why the baker should want to do this, other than him saying he's lonely).
But sentimentality and false notes are pretty rare in Carver's stories, and this collection is still excellent: sparse prose and suburbanity, stories that explore tenderly human failures. Carver the short-story writer was a decendent of Hemminway without the exoticism and bravado, and a contemporary of Charles Bukowski without the desire to ridicule and aspire to bohemianism.
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Format: Paperback
I've never really enjoyed short stories and find something unsatisfactory about them. Even when penned by my favourite authors, they seem to lack something, and I've usually finished such collections and thought: "well, so what?". So it was that I approached the much-praised work of Raymond Carver with some sense of trepidation and cynicsm - could his stories be that good? Would the reviewers have it right about the late writer's talents?

"Cathedral" - a collection of 12 stories by Carver, has made me re-think the merits of short stories. Several here are minature masterpieces, one or two don't work for me, and one or two absolutely had me rivetted and thinking about them long after I'd finished reading. It's a combination of ingredients that work here: Carver's pared-down-to-the bone style, the timeless quality of the stories, the dilemmas and sense of the moment being preserved. But overall, I think it's Carver's ability to tell a story that could be taking place at any point in time that gives them such power. They just don't seem to date, and he's cleverly avoided layering the stories with too much detail about time and place, so they don't age.

But they do make you think. At just over 200 pages, the stories don't take long to get through, but they say so much more than other, longer books I've read. If, like me, you aren't that convinced that short stories make good reading, I urge you to give this collection a try. A revelation, and a lesson too in how to write little, but say a lot.
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Format: Paperback
This collection of short stories ranges from the merely okay ('Preservation' is, in my opinion, the weakest) to the superb ('Cathedral' and 'Feathers' are my favourites). Carver's speciality was to capture those moments in ordinary, mundane lives, when, although nothing much is happening, we are reminded what it means to be human. He knew these small-town, working-class people, the unsuccessful, forgotten poor of America. He was one of them. This is what life is like, for most people, and these stories range from funny to sad, like life itself.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Superb! There's a lot you can say about Carver, the writers' writer and I highly recommend this to any aspiring writer who, like myself, values realism and succinct writing. In his final collection here he has dispensed of the ruthless editing of Gordon Lish to present stories as Carver wanted them, a bit more superfluous on the petty details of blue collar American life which became the trademark of this important short story writer. If it's your first attempt at Carver then keep an open and patient mind, expect to read a story twice to really appreciate the mimesis he pursued, don't expect a climax, or large than life characters or mystery, but it will leave you thinking long after you've put it down. Cathedral, Bridle, and A small Good Thing, are particularly recommendable. Some of the other stories do start to begin to all sound the same, mundane lives of losers, but that was the whole point.
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Format: Paperback
Picked up 'Elephant' too, another collection of short stories. Hard to say which i prefer.

Carver's style is simple, precise, captivating, but mostly - and it says this in the blurb on the back - resonant. Truly.

Like short stories - you NEED this!!
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By A Customer on 5 Feb. 2000
Format: Paperback
I first read Carver while I was an English major at UCLA (University California Los Angeles); it was a class on the short story in England and America. We read Checkov, Roth (Philip), and many others; but it was Carver who really moved me. In simple prose, he gets into the rhythm of the addict, the viciousness of addiction, and the reality of sobriety. There has never been a writer quite like Carver, and it's not likely that there ever will be another of his caliber in the art of the short story: reading Carver is, in itself, an act of humanity.
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