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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing and thought-provoking
These stories are all about characters facing a fact and making a change because of that fact - either their own mortality (Whoever Was Using This Bed), their failures as a husband and partner (Menudo) and their relationship with their mother (Boxes). They're all low-key and demand a second reading immediately as you finish them because there are so many nuances to...
Published on 7 Jun. 2007 by I Read, Therefore I Blog

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Seven snapshots of human existence
Carver is often said to be America's Chekhov, or the Chekhov of the 20th century. He writes short stories about everyday life. Although some of them are brilliant in the way they capture little snippets from the lives of ordinary people, I didn't find this collection to be as good as the previous one, Cathedral. One or two of these stories are so ordinary as to be quite...
Published on 9 April 2010 by Phil O'Sofa


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing and thought-provoking, 7 Jun. 2007
This review is from: Elephant (Paperback)
These stories are all about characters facing a fact and making a change because of that fact - either their own mortality (Whoever Was Using This Bed), their failures as a husband and partner (Menudo) and their relationship with their mother (Boxes). They're all low-key and demand a second reading immediately as you finish them because there are so many nuances to Carver's characters and what they face that you find yourself picking up new layers on each subsequent reading.

My favourite story in the collection was Boxes - a story about a man dealing with is infuriating mother who has packed up to move to the other side of the country but still hasn't quite gotten around to doing it yet. It's a very sad story, in that you can feel the narrator's frustration at dealing with a mother who never listens to what he says but who he loves and feels obliged to nevertheless and the ending where she does leave and he realises that this is the last time that he will see her is particularly bittersweet.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is how life is lived, 28 Oct. 2009
By 
Eileen Shaw "Kokoschka's_cat" (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Elephant (Paperback)
The last collection of stories by this much feted short-fiction writer, Elephant, is a triumph of understatement, replete with emotional resonance. The stories are not so much narratives as statements - `this is how life is lived'.

In the title story a man remembers his father carrying him on his shoulders and how he imagined his father was an elephant. This elegantly gentle metaphor carries over into his own life as he struggles to help his family, all of whom need financial assistance. He, in turn, has become the elephant carrying his ex-wife, his mother, his daughter, his son and his brother on his shoulders. Gentleness pervades many of these stories, a woman intent on leaving her husband walks out of her house one foggy night to find horses gathered on her lawn; a man who is separating from his wife rakes his lawn and that of his next-door neighbours, as if cleaning up his past ready for a new life. In a departure from his usual modern settings Carver writes of Chekhov's death from tuberculosis in the midddle of a heat wave.

Each of his stories is a delicate view of the breakdowns and failures of relationships, but leavened always by insight, vision and sometimes by the freight and motion, the joyful complexity, of being alive.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written; a snapshot of small town America., 3 Feb. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Elephant (Paperback)
The short stories in 'Elephant' are simply written without a hint of pretension and examine ordinary people facing everyday problems in small town America. The stories have no beginning nor an end and are merely a snapshot into people's lives. These snapshots are beautifully written, though sometimes it is necessary to read between the lines to absorb their full impact.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Seven snapshots of human existence, 9 April 2010
Carver is often said to be America's Chekhov, or the Chekhov of the 20th century. He writes short stories about everyday life. Although some of them are brilliant in the way they capture little snippets from the lives of ordinary people, I didn't find this collection to be as good as the previous one, Cathedral. One or two of these stories are so ordinary as to be quite boring and even pointless. Do we really want to read about a couple lying in bed at night smoking cigarettes, unable to sleep after a phone-call (wrong number) wakes them? Nothing happens. Some of Carver's little stories are really quite brilliant, but some of these aren't. This is the difficulty in writing simple tales about nothing much: it's a fine line between making us think 'yeah, that's what life is really like' and 'so what?' Here we have examples of both.
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14 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars softly bruising your soul, 18 April 2003
This review is from: Elephant (Paperback)
Read all of Raymond Carver's short stories. To begin there may not seem that much to them, but if you read slowly, taking in each of his precise words, you'll find the true impact of these heart wrenching stories- often a day or two later.
Carver shows us our quietest, loneliest moments. He makes no judgements, he just says: 'Here we are.' His short stories are gifts to humanity. Take the gift.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars CARVE THE PAGE!, 13 May 2009
By 
Carlo Muttoni (Italy) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Elephant (Paperback)
Raymond is good at what he doesn't write. If you want to learn how to subtract from text and master in the difficult art of silence, buy this book as well as other by Carver.
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Elephant
Elephant by Raymond Carver (Paperback - 4 Sept. 2003)
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