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Cathedral [Paperback]

Raymond Carver
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

18 Sep 1997
This collection of short stories established Raymond Carver as a master storyteller. He is the author of "Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?", "Fires", "Elephants", "In A Marine Light: Selected Poems", "A New Path to the Waterfall", "No Heroics Please" and "Short Cuts".


Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: The Harvill Press; New edition edition (18 Sep 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1860463878
  • ISBN-13: 978-1860463877
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 13.6 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,475,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Raymond Carver was born in Clatskanie, Oregon, in 1938. His first short stories appeared in Esquire during Gordon Lish's tenure as fiction editor in the 1970s. Carver's work began to reach a wider audience with the 1976 publication of Will You Please be Quiet, Please, but it was not until the 1981 publication of What We Talk About When We Talk About Love under Gordon Lish, then at Knopf, that he began to achieve real literary fame.

This collection was edited by more than 40 per cent before publication, and Carver dedicated it to his fellow writer and future wife, Tess Gallagher, with the promise that he would one day republish his stories at full length.

He went on to write two more collections of stories, Cathedral and Elephant, which moved away from the earlier minimalist style into a new expansiveness, as well as several collections of poetry. He died in 1988, aged fifty.

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good summation of Carver's work 10 April 2006
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cathedral 13 July 2003
By A Customer
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Jl Adcock VINE VOICE
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Twelve stories, some good, some great 9 April 2010
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning. 18 Jun 2009
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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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Great 5 Feb 2000
By A Customer
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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