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Raymond Carver S Third Collection Of Stories, A Finalist For The Pulitzer Prize, Including The Canonical Titular Story About Blindness And Learning To Enter The Very Different World Of Another These Twelve Stories Mark A Turning Point In Carver S Career And Overflow With The Danger, Excitement, Mystery And Possibility Of Life Carver Is A Writer Of Astonishing Compassion And Honesty His Eye Set Only On Describing And Revealing The World As He Sees It His Eye Is So Clear, It Almost Breaks Your Heart Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World From The EBook Edition

10 thoughts on “Cathedral

  1. says:

    English Cathedral ItalianoThis collection of twelve stories by Raymond Carver is the perfect example of how to compromise the reader s frame of mind by talking about daily events Thanks also to a minimal prose, Carver has the great virtue of guessing than any other author that the everyday and the ordinary, such as a home accident, a watch robbery or even the death are the most familiar events that bind us to life The result is an emotional earthquake in the reader Among the twelve short novels, in my opinion A Small, Good Thing deserves a special mention an absolute masterpiece of unnatural perfection And for the record a short story can tell than a thousand novels.Vote 9La raccolta di dodici racconti di Raymond Carver rappresenta l esempio perfetto di come mettere in subbuglio l animo del lettore parlando di fatti quotidiani Grazie anche ad una prosa semplice e minimale, Carver ha il grande pregio di intuire pi di ogni altro autore che il quotidiano e l ordinario, come un incidente domestico, il furto di un orologio o la morte stessa, sono quanto di pi familiare ci lega alla vita Il risultato un terremoto emotivo in chi legge Una menzione speciale merita per me Una cosa piccola ma buona , capolavoro assoluto di innaturale perfezione Per la cronaca un racconto pu dire pi di mille romanzi.Voto 9

  2. says:

    American author Raymond Carver 1938 1988 master of the short storyA dozen Raymond Carver stories collected here as part of the 1980s Vintage Contemporaries series Since other reviewers have commented on all twelve, I ll share some short short cuts from the title story, my reflections on Carver doozy, a story I dearly love Here goes CATHEDRALThe Blind Man The narrator s wife is bringing her old friend, a blind man, home for a visit since the blind man made the trip to Connecticut to visit relatives following the death of his wife The narrator s idea of blindness and what it means to be a blind man comes from the movies Such a telling detail of lower middle class Carver country, life saturated by popular culture, especially movies and television Although the narrator remains nameless throughout the story, I sense his name is Al, so I ll take the liberty to occasionally refer to the narrator as Al Poetry Al s wife writes poems, one such poem about how during her last session with the blind man, she let him touch her face and neck with his fingers And Al s reaction to poetry I admit it s not the first thing I reach for when I pick up something to read Ha What understatement not the first thing I reach for matter of fact, safe to say Al hasn t come within a mile of reading a poem since high school English class I can clearly envision Al rolling his eyes as he grumbles under his breath Damn sissy stuff Lifeless Bitter Pill The narrator conveys some of his wife s background, how she married her childhood sweetheart, etc It s that et cetera that underlines Al s distaste for life For Al, life is a bitter pill Black bile Al His words about his wife s despair and attempted suicide before she met him are entirely devoid of emotion and as flat and as cold as a frozen pancake Recreation Al s wife has been trading tapes with the blind man over the years Al demeans the tapes along with his wife s poetry, calling them her chief means of recreation At one point, listening to one of the tapes, Al does get extremely upset We read My own name in the mouth of this stranger, this blind man I didn t even know A key revealer of what Al really values and finds important as he sings that all too familiar song It s all about me Pathetic The blind man lived with his wife and after she fell ill, had to sit by his wife s side holding her hand in the hospital and then bury her when she died All this without his having ever seen what the goddamned woman looked like It was beyond my understanding The narrator goes on to tell us how the blind man is left with a small insurance policy and half a Mexican coin The other half of the coin went into the box with her Pathetic The perfect word since, ironically, what is truly pathetic is the narrator s hard boiled, heartless cynicism Creepy As Al waits for his wife to return with the blind man from the station, what does he do The two big pastimes in Carver country drink and watch TV When the blind man does arrive, the narrator is surprised he doesn t use a cane or wear dark glasses He looks carefully at Robert s eyes the blind man s name is Robert and conveys the detail of what he sees His overarching observation creepy.Family Prayer After a few snide, sarcastic questions and remarks hurled at Robert courtesy of our narrator as they smoke and drink in the living room, all three sit down at the table for dinner Before they all dig in, we read Now let us pray I said, and the blind man lowered his head My wife looked at me, her mouth agape Pray the phone won t ring and the food doesn t get cold Raymond Carver, you sly dog, slipping this belly laugher into your bleak tale Actually, one thing that is not pathetic, even for black bile Al serious eating When all else fails, always the animal pleasure of chowing down on steak and potatoes and strawberry pie.Rat Wheel After dinner conversation and Al finds out that Robert has done a little of everything a regular blind jack of all trades In turn, Robert asks a few questions about Al s job and almost predictably the narrator s answers are 1 three years at present position, 2 don t like it, and 3 no real options to get out Work as a deadening reinforcement that life is an unending rat wheel But the narrator has one surefire way to deal with the rat wheel every night he smokes dope and stays up as long as he can TV and Dope to the Rescue When the conversation peters out, TV to the rescue Al turns on the set and his wife leaves to change into her nightgown and robe Alone together, Al treats Robert to a little cannabis When the narrator s wife returns Robert tells her there is always a first time for everything She takes a seat on the coach and joins them As the narrator observes the blind man was inhaling as if he has been smoking weed since he was nine The Creative Act Al s wife falls asleep on the coach and he and Robert watch a TV program about medieval cathedrals The narrator questions Robert on how much he knows about cathedrals, just how big they are Robert suggests they engage in a little artwork together so the narrator can show him all about cathedrals Down on the living room carpet, armed with pen and paper, Al and Robert, hand on hand, begin their artwork Then, the unexpected happens during their joint creativity Robert tell the narrator to close his eyes and asks him what he thinks MU The narrator says it is like nothing else in his life up to now how he doesn t feel like he s inside anything It s really something My reading of the narrator s experience He finally lets go of his self preoccupation and crusty cynicism and has a direct experience of that other side of life, the one beyond ego, beyond judgements, beyond all categories, life as boundless awareness In Zen, this is called Satori but for right now on his hands and knees on the living room carpet, it has no name and it needs no name Black Painting No 34, 1964 by American Artist, Ad Reinhardt

  3. says:

    Cathedral stories , Raymond Carver Cathedral is the third major press collection of short stories by American writer Raymond Carver, published in 1983.The collection contains the following stories Feathers , Chef s House , Preservation , The Compartment , A Small, Good Thing An extended version of his earlier short story The Bath Vitamins , Careful , Where I m Calling From , The Train , Fever , The Bridle , Cathedral Narrated by a man whose wife is old friends with a blind man, the story shows the husband narrator s distaste for the blind man who is coming to visit him and his wife for a few days At times it seems that the man is jealous of the blind man for being so close to his wife at other times it seems that the husband is disgusted by the man s blindness In the end they bond in a way through the communication they share about what a cathedral looks like 2012 1377 323 1379 1381 9644480643 20

  4. says:

    Dreams, you know, are what you wake up from My heart is in my throat after finishing this magnificent collection I ve spent most of the day reading these stories, as I can t think of anything else I d rather do This is both Carver s third collection and the third one I ve read This time, his work was published without the ruthless editorial hand of Gordon Lish, which is evidenced by longer, detailed stories It feels like Carver was stretching his legs a bit here, with pretty great results Some of the stories are semi autobiographical, and many are dark But there are a few that have a softer, affirming feel a small light in the darkness They are all excellent, but here are the standouts for me Chef s House a sobered up alcoholic invites his estranged wife to spend the summer with him in a rented house we see how precarious his sobriety is Preservation an out of work man takes to the couch, paralysed and trapped while his wife despairs and works until one day the refrigerator breaks A Small, Good Thing parents are dealing with the hit and run accident of their seven year old boy, comfort to be found in the most unexpected place This is an extended version of The Bath found in What We Talk About When We Talk About Love Really not sure which one I love Careful an alcoholic man s ears are blocked and his ideas of acceptable behaviour change with each swig of the champagne bottle Fever one of the optimistic stories I mentioned earlier, this tale is about how a newly single father struggling to accept the abandonment of his wife, sees that even if love ends badly, it was still love Cathedral my absolute favourite of the collection A blind man teaches a sighted man new ways to see I personally couldn t see for tears by this line on the last page It was like nothing else in my life up to now A few nerdy notes to mention The Compartment is a sequel to a previous Carver story, Put Yourself in My Shoes And The Train is a sequel to John Cheever s story, The Five Forty Eight.I really can t say how I feel about Raymond Carver without getting all sloppy and sentimental But I will say I felt welcome here, welcomed into the crux of the lives depicted in his pages through his very accessible prose, guided by his expert hand, trusted with the contents of his heart I m so glad Raymond Carver lived and wrote There s a reason why he still remains an influential figure, particularly in regards to the short story form.

  5. says:

    Raymond Carver is one of the most influential writers of the late 20th century, and this volume, published five years before his tragically early death at 50, has the feel of an American classic.It includes some of his most famous short stories Feathers, Chef s House, A Small, Good Thing, Vitamins, Where I m Calling From and the mysterious title tale I ve read and studied some of the stories before, but this was my first time reading the book cover to cover Here are a few observations 1 Boy do these stories ever resonate during a recession I d forgotten how many unemployed people there are in the book Consider some of these opening sentences Sandy s husband had been on the sofa ever since he d been terminated three months ago Preservation I had a job and Patti didn t I worked a few hours a night for the hospital It was a nothing job I did some work, signed the card for eight hours, went drinking with the nurses After a while, Patti wanted a job She said she needed a job for her self respect So she started selling multiple vitamins door to door Vitamins This old station wagon with Minnesota plates pulls into a parking space in front of the window There s a man and woman in the front seat, two boys in the back It s July, temperature s one hundred plus These people look whipped There are clothes hanging inside suitcases, boxes, and such piled in back From what Harley and I put together later, that s all they had left after the bank in Minnesota took their house, their pickup, their tractor, the farm implements, and a few cows The Bridle 2 Not all the characters are working classCarver s known as the poet of the working class, and many critics say his diction no fancy words or constructions evokes the language of ordinary working folks Consider the book s opening lines This friend of mine from work, Bud, he asked Fran and me to supper I didn t know his wife and he didn t know Fran That made us even But Bud and I were friends.So it s surprising to find many professionals in these stories The dad worrying about his comatose son in A Small, Good Thing has an advanced degree in business, a junior partnership in an investment firm In The Compartment, Myers, who s travelling to see his estranged son in Europe, is an executive who can afford to be in first class Carlyle, the man whose wife suddenly leaves him and their daughter in Fever, is a high school art teacher.3 These tales are beautifully constructedPerhaps not surprising, considering that the book s title is Cathedral Carver is a master architect in setting up plot and character He knows when to offer up dialogue and when to deliver exposition Chef s House, about a divorced couple s attempt to get back after the husband has sobered up and found them a paradise of a home, is only six or seven pages long, but you re given a perfect sense of the couple s troubled past and get a satisfying glimpse of the wonderful summer before their fortunes change It s a model of economy and compression.If you ve ever wanted to know how to conceal stories within stories, look at Where I m Calling From, set in a drying out facility In a sense storytelling is a part of the plot the rehab characters listen to others tell stories to distract them from their own troubles Which brings me to4 There are a lot of alcoholics in this bookLike Fitzgerald, Hemingway to whom he s often compared and his good friend John Cheever, Carver struggled with booze But he cleaned up, got sober and set to work I once heard a fascinating theory that many of his stories feel like those confessionals you deliver in Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12 step programs My name is X and I m an alcoholic I ve gone through hell, but I ve survived to tell my story Here it is This is where I m calling from 5 There are lots of hands on legsI counted at least four instances where characters put hands on other people s legs Weird, eh 6 That voice Carver s voice is so distinct it was imitated by many, and of course it lends itself to parody The language and the cadences seem so simple, but there s so much lurking beneath the words just take a look at the examples in this review Hint don t read his stories too quickly, even if they seem straightforward Carver was also an accomplished poet Read some lines aloud if you can Even the he said and she said s contribute to the rhythm And despite some bleak themes, there s lots of humour.7 Some epiphanies feel forcedCarver s narrators often stumble upon a revelation, usually on the penultimate page of a story Here are some examples emphases are mine Wes, it s all right, I said I brought his hand to my cheek Then, I don t know, I remembered how he was when he was nineteen, the way he looked running across this field to where his dad sat on a tractor, hand over his eyes, watching Wes run toward him Chef s House I m thinking about chimney sweeps all that stuff I heard from J.P when for some reason I start to think about a house my wife and I once lived in Where I m Calling From Mrs Webster looked at Carlyle and waved It was then, as he stood at the window, that he felt something come to an end It had to do with Eileen and the life before this Had he ever waved at her Fever Fine writing, but there s something a touch contrived about the effects Carver spells things out a little too clearly, with a faux naive Aw shucks, I don t know why but this is what I did attitude 8 There s something spiritual about Carver s writingCarver s stories aren t religious, but they are spiritual Perhaps it s because his people suffer so much Their pasts are a hazy blur of drunken excess and violence they ve abandoned wives and children being jobless has left them without an anchor their children are in hospital or they re sick themselves Because of all of this they re searching for something, anything redemption, grace, a vision of happiness.From the final lines of Cathedral So we kept on with it His fingers rode my fingers as my hand went over the paper It was like nothing else in my life up to now.You could say the same thing about these deceptively simple yet extraordinary stories.

  6. says:

    I had no Idea who Raymond Carver was before I picked this collection of short stories Of course, I asked the great oracles of the Internet to feed me information about him, and they told me that Mr.Carver is one of the American literary gods who revived the dying short story literary form in the 80s My primary concern was for the short story medium that almost died in the 80s, and don t worry, I checked and they are thriving nowadays.As I read Carver s stories, I understood that he is a maestro in creating minimalistic stories that hold a plethora of themes inside its simple exterior To be honest, his stories can be considered as disguised ciphers, as while reading, you may think the story is about bananas, but in fact, It might just be about the potassium and carbohydrates or even oranges.The bananas are just a metaphor, Carver never wrote about bananas to my knowledge His themes were repetitive, yet effective, and he wrote about isolation, loneliness, alcoholism, marriages, miscommunication, and the human condition Most of the stories in Cathedral uses middle class couples and their marriages as stage setting, and from there Carver unleashes a torrent of words to create effective stories There were twelve short stories, and while I enjoyed all of them, these are my top three picks A Small, Good Thing This one hit me hard Too hard, to be honest It s about a couple in a hospital waiting for the news about their young son s recovery from a hit and run case The pain, the uncertainty, and the fear are so well written that you couldn t help but be in the room with the characters If I am asked to recommend one serious short story to anyone, this will be the one I endorse Feathers This one is about an evening dinner with two colleagues and their wives The story is filled with metaphors and bewildering domestic moments, but it was the uncomfortable feelings of the characters, that kind of osmosis to the reader, made me enjoy this story immensely The Compartment In this story, we find ourselves riding a train with a man who is traveling to meet his estranged son Richly told, and it was the implication of the story s finale which made me love this tale Parting thoughts Carver writes stories which are brimming with life Yes, it is a depressing set, but no one can ever accuse them of being dull Also, If you are the right kind of audience, it will invoke insecurities and fears you never knew you had.It sure did for me.

  7. says:

    A very interesting short, showcasing a blind man who doesn t let his blindness limit him in any way Turns a skeptic, who was uncomfortable about his blindness, into a man who lesrns by the gift of touch There are many different ways of seeing, and not all use sight.

  8. says:

    After two collections of beautifully written, lean but grim and mercilessly sad working class stories, Carver lets the reins loose a bit in this 1983 collection, allowing some of the stories to expand just a bit, in various ways Almost all of the stories in Will You Please Be Quiet, Please 1976 and What We Talk About When We Talk About Love 1981 are about working class people on the edge of tragedy, or seen at the end of a slow tragic decline, though it s not classic tragedy, of a great man say, Macbeth, a noble soldier pricked by the spur of his own ambition but a factory rat brought down by an affair, say, and by his own drunken bumbling The first story in this collection, Feathers, signals the change, maybe, by identifying the tale as a low rent tragedy In this collection, sometimes still featuring such AA based tragedies, there s humor, fuller descriptions, the pace slows a bit for to happen, for us to get to know the characters as fully human, though most of all there s a generosity of spirit you don t see to this extent in the earlier collections The best example of how this works is in a story that gets revised here The Bath is a story in What We Talk About When We Talk About Lover it s a story about an eight year old boy hit by a car and in a coma on his birthday The day before, his mother hard ordered a cake for him At different points both the mpther and father take breaks and get annoying calls They are too distracted to remember the baker and the cake The phone is ringing, and they all seem lost, nothing is resolved The tone is harsh, devastating, unrelentingly sad None of the people connect when they so need to Various sources reveal that an earlier version of the story is fuller, but editor Gordon Lish wouldn t publish it until it was stripped to the bone.In Carver s revision of The Bath in A Small, Good Thing he lengthens it considerably, letting us get to know the parents better But the change in the story becomes dramatic when, in this version, the parents drive to confront the baker in their grief and rage against the world We don t get to know the baker at all in The Bath, but something astonishing happens here, as the baker hears what has happened, realizes that the boy has been hospitalized, and he reaches out to the broken couple, offering them freshly baked bread which, in communion fashion, in family fashion, they share together Sometimes a small, good thing such as breaking bread together is essential in restoring some small measure of grace and humanity I thought that The Bath was technically amazing, but in the closing pages of the revised story I was reduced to tears Until this point that had never happened to me in a Carver story It s wonderful.There are other such stories in this collection where you find that similar grace happens, but possibly one of Carver s greatest stories, maybe one of the best stories ever, is the story that concludes the collection, Cathedral Narrated by a man whose wife is old friends with a blind man, the story reveals the narrator doesn t initially like or understand the blind man There s a rich intimacy that his wife and the blind man have that makes him irritable, jealous The narrator s life is going nowhere, he just likes to get stoned and watch tv, but the blind man is rich and insightful in a way the husband is not There s a program about cathedrals on tv, and our narrator tries to tell him what a cathedral looks like, and fails The blind man asks our narrator to get some paper and a pen and to begin drawing a cathedral, with his hand over the narrator s hand Close your eyes now, the blind man said to me I did it I closed them just like he said Are they closed he said Don t fudge They re closed, I said Keep them that way, he said He said, Don t stop now Draw So we kept on with it His fingers rode my fingers as my hand went over the paper It was like nothing else in my life up to now.Then he said, I think that s it I think you got it, he said Take a look What do you think But I had my eyes closed I thought I d keep them that way for a little longer I thought it was something I ought to do Well he said Are you looking My eyes were still closed I was in my house I knew that But I didn t feel like I was inside anything It s really something, I said In this story a small but significant miracle happens The majesty and power of a cathedral become clear, sure, but also the power of imagination, and relationship Our selfish narrator learns for a bit what it might be like to be blind, to live in someone else s shoes.And I am thinking about it right now as white supremacists have clashed in Virginia We need desperately to learn from each other and experience beauty in each other In Carver s previous stories, the man might just have remained lost, stoned, as his wife meets her old friend in this story, though, there emerges the possibility of redemption, of life change.Here, read it today, if you get the chance is long, but it is Stephen King on Carver, a terrific review I agree about the review is that the heavily Gordon Lish edited stories seem technically virtuoso, yet in some way almost nihilistic I think of them as Edward Hopper visions of loneliness and grief but in the best of this collection Carver finally has achieved heart, attaining at moments the height of the master he so loved, Chekhov.

  9. says:

    Just another genius collection of laconic grimly funny or just grim short stories by Carver, like his other four My favourites Feathers A guy and his wife are invited for dinner at a workmate s house Bud and Olla have a peacock and a really ugly baby Even calling it ugly does it credit Preservation A guy loses his job and his life disintegrates The fridge breaks down His wife gets ready to go to an auction to buy a new one That s all, folks A Small Good Thing A boy is hit by a car and later dies The bereaved parents receive calls from the baker who s expecting them to collect the birthday cake he s made for their son They get all outraged and storm down to see this guy But it turns into something else Careful A guy has a visit from his estranged wife Inez His ear is blocked by wax and she helps him That s also all Fever A college teacher s wife leaves him He has major problems finding someone to look after his two kids while he s at work The day does not go well.Carver fans should not miss the Robert Altman movie Short Cuts which is a mashup of six or seven Carver stories Purists may shudder at the thought but it s actually a great piece of work and weaves the stories into something else Tom Waits is in it

  10. says:

    This book changed my life, sent me on my way to becoming a writer, and quite literally was the reason my girlfriend and I got together Yeah Soul mates Me and Carver.