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What We Talk About When We Talk About Love (Vintage Classics) [Paperback]

Raymond Carver
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
RRP: £7.99
Price: £6.39 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

5 Nov 2009 Vintage Classics
This powerful collection of stories, set in the mid-West among the lonely men and women who drink, fish and play cards to ease the passing of time, was the first by Raymond Carver to be published in the UK. With its spare, colloquial narration and razor-sharp sense of how people really communicate, the collection was to become one of the most influential literary works of the 1980s.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics (5 Nov 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099530325
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099530329
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 12,729 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"The master craftsman of the modern American short story" (Daily Telegraph)

"One of America's most original, truest voices" (Salman Rushdie)

"One of the most celebrated American short-story writers of the 20th century" (New York Times)

"A remarkable collection" (New York Review of Books)

"I remember being floored by the first Raymond Carver collection I read: What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" (David Sedaris New York Times)

Book Description

'One of America's most original, truest voices' Salman Rushdie

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haiku prose 11 May 2009
Again, I might well be arriving late to the party, and maybe the food might all be gone, but I still feel it worth attending and seeing if I can't find something to munch on.
I found Carver via Murakami's 'Birthday Stories', where, having been impressed by 'The Bath', I decided to dig further and seek other works. Now, having read 'What we talk about...' I can only say three things;
i) Brilliant! Carver is a literary genius who occupies rare ground,
ii) Original. He re-wrote the short-story, he invented, re-invented the short-story,
iii) More! I want more! I want to read every word he wrote, I am thirsty for his world vision.
Carver's style, his vision, his world-view optimises what makes American literature great, and what is great American literature. After reading this I was reminded just how good modern American literature really is - there is not a country on this planet who has a definite modern style as beautiful, clean and expressive as America. People often say that Jazz is the only true American Art, but I disagree! To that I would also add the short-story! America has a rich and unchallenged history in the short story and it must surely be at least partly attributable to the likes of Raymond Carver.

Many readers have commented that 'nothing happens'... NOTHING HAPPENS? Things happen, lots happens, it's just, like life, things happen quickly - who could forget the three page masterpiece 'Popular Mechanics'? Where Carver's real genius lies is that he really is a master storyteller, that is to say he paints a sparse picture and challenges the reader to fill in the blanks, to use THEIR imagination to join the dots.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An American Classic 31 July 2005
Short stories are one of my favourite forms, and Carver is masterful. His sparse prose reminds me of Hemingway, and his characters - all struggling with their own small-town psychoses - hit you directly from the page. I'm not the biggest fan of American literature, to be honest, but embarked on my first experience of Carver after recommendations from a friend (who is a huge fan). Carver's stories wheedle their way into your consciousness. His portraits of everyday yet remarkable people are sharp and linger long after the few pages devoted to each tale. There's still something cerebral rather than emotional about the stories, but this alienation is part of the package. If you want to see beautiful craftsmanship and feel in the mood to take the wry, sometimes deeply sad, stories of failed promise or everday accident, then Carver is a rewarding experience.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harrowing and harsh 27 Jan 2012
The stories are crisp, sharp and focused and written in a very minimalist style. But they are harsh. While the title uses the word "love" each of the stories has a cold hard reality about it which is far from loving, and an infinite distance from romance. Representing the short story equivalent of Tom Waites, its an easy 5 stars, but don't expect too many smiles.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Art of the short story 28 Aug 2011
By Grumpy
This book is a great example of the short story genre. Each story opens a little window on lives either troubled or trying to smother the echoes of the past. The stories provoke more questions than they give answers. The reader is left uneasy. I loved it. I can see how others might find it disturbing. But if you are open to the short story genre, these are classics.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth your time 21 Nov 2010
By hannah
This was the first collection I read by Carver. I was very glad I did. He is a master of the short story and a very evocative writer. The short story is so hard to get right - but needless to say he says so much in a short time.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Minimalism a fine example 17 April 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book of short stories was recommended to me as a good example of minimalism. The stories are short and sharp as might be expected when considering that Raymond Carver is a writer known for his succinct text. I enjoyed the stories even though they are miserable and gloomy. The book has ecouraged me to read more about Carver himself.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The master of short storytelling 16 Feb 2010
This is one of the greatest collections of short stories ever written - Carver was a master storyteller, with not a word wasted
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4.0 out of 5 stars love short stories! 21 Sep 2013
By laurac
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Interesting collection of stories - very heavily edited and sometimes hard to understand endings. I want to read Beginnings now!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Lovely read
Published 3 days ago by Barbara Corfe
3.0 out of 5 stars I was hoping for more...
I had high hopes for this book since everyone told me Carver is one of the best short-story authors and I was a little bit disappointed, to be honest. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Almudena Díaz
2.0 out of 5 stars I bought this as reading for a university course.
I would not have bought this as a casual purchase. Its a weird book and Carver's writing style is an acquired taste.
Published 11 months ago by Jane Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read.
It's a fantastic collection of short stories. Very easy to pick up and get into. I would definitely recommend this book.
Published 15 months ago by Alex Huxley
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely
What we talk about when we talk about love? Alcohol :))
Joke aside it's a book filled with nice stories, easy to read even for someone whose mother tongue is not English. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Claudiu Catargiu
4.0 out of 5 stars Good grim read
This is a good selection of his work. It's definitely a collection you want to dip in and out - don't read it in one go or you'll end up feeling pretty depressed.
Published 17 months ago by Crispin Crispian
3.0 out of 5 stars Not my favorite author
That's all that needs to be said. I actually read some of his poetry recently and found it to be far more engaging than his short stories. Just not my style.
Published on 11 April 2011 by S. M. OLeary
3.0 out of 5 stars Variable
I loved some stories but found others average - the title story is definitely the strongest. For me, the prose is too pared down, and often reads like a schoolboy exercise. Read more
Published on 4 Mar 2011 by pr1
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