Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Carver re-visited, 12 July 2009
This review is from: Short Cuts (Paperback)
Raymond Carver was unequivocally one of the top five non-fiction writers of the c.20th. Add to this honour, that he was also the undisputed world heavyweight champion of the short story, and only then can one begins to understand the pedigree of the artist. An artist who at times painted such a thin wash over his canvass that it was still possible to see the very fabric underneath. If one were to complain that there was insufficient colour painted on his canvass, then the correct response would be to say that the reader was not fulfilling their side of the contract. A contract which Carver single-handedly re-established; that is the unwritten contact between the author and the reader which states the author provides only half of the data and the reader uses their imagination to provide the remainder. If you want Carver to spoon-feed you, you will undoubtedly walk away hungry.

Regarding the specifics of this text, it should be made clear to any potential purchaser, that all of the stories contained herein were originally published elsewhere and are contained in other collections, so more than likely you don't need to purchase this collection. In addition, I would like to point out that this text is really just a marketing spin-off from Robert Altman's 1993 'Short Cuts', which is loosely based on the nine short this anthology contains. Therein lies the reasons why I only awarded it the five stars, as this wasn't made clear on the Amazon page.

Having stated the above, I might still have purchased this collection because it contains so interesting additions and editions I have yet to come across. New works I have yet to read were:

i) Vitamins
ii) Lemonade

Both of which were excellent, especially 'Lemonade'. In addition to these two, there is also an 'alternative take' of 'A Small Good Thing', which contains not only a new ending and a fatter body, but also shows Carver in a very different mode. Firstly the re-structured tale could actually be described as 'up-beat', an adjective we seldom see used in connection with his work. Secondly and perhaps more significantly, it also contains closure - something we seldom see in Carver's work (that is closure in the 'traditional' sense).

In addition to the above gems I also liked the fact that volume has a numbered text, something which means that it could be used for a reading class or seminar. Unfortunately however, I bought the 'Reclaim' version (red cover) which is a German edition and has the key vocabulary translated into German, along with the notes and biography. Again, this was not made clear on the Amazon page.

To summarise, collectors of Carver's work will appreciate this volume, likewise new arrivals and students should also get something from this too. If you see nothing, or this collection fails to please you, then I guess you need to re-examine, what you read and why your read what you do.
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