Why this book?
A master class on “less is more,” the stories in this collection are set in everyday, locations: a suburban front yard, an airport lounge, a kitchen, and are populated by working-class people in the midst of one or more traumas such as alcoholism, divorce, or financial trouble.
Though Carver doesn’t employ fantasy, the tight, accessible writing lures you in and immerses you in a comic-tragic world that is uniquely his own. This collection taught me the power of economical prose and that writing about the kinds of people you encounter at the supermarket can be just as transportive and resonant as stories that involve characters who live in exotic places, or universes.
Why should I read it?
What is this book about?
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.