A collection of short stories from one of America’s best short fiction writers. The prose is stripped down and spare, often snapshots of ordinary lives, but throbbing with regret and sorrow. Carver’s style feels very straightforward from the outside, but the detail and dialogue tell the real story – often only after contemplating the meaning upon finishing it – focusing on quietly desperation of the usually working-class (blue-collar) middle-aged men and women, living their lives in an ordinary, recognisable world.
The dialogue is probably the best I’ve ever read. It’s exactly how people talk, lending the characters a real sense of literary honesty. Whilst not every one worked for me, the ones that did – Tell the Women We’re Going, After the Denim, So Much Water So Close to Home, The Third Thing That Killed My Father Off – are alone worth the price of the book.
These slices of life won’t appeal to everyone, but they did to this reader, and the economy of words and regretful themes, means this is a collection I can recommend highly.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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