by Raymond Carver


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780679723691
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/28/1989
Series: Vintage Contemporaries Series
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 110,819
Product dimensions: 5.13(w) x 7.98(h) x 0.63(d)

About the Author

Raymond Carver was born in Clatskanie, Oregon, in 1938. His first collection of stories, Will You Please Be Quiet, Please (a National Book Award nominee in 1977), was followed by What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, Cathedral (nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 1984), and Where I'm Calling From. He died in 1988.

Norman Dietz is a writer, an actor, and a solo performer. He has also performed frequently on radio and television, and he has recorded over 150 audiobooks, many of which have earned him awards from AudioFile magazine, the ALA, and Publishers Weekly. Additionally, AudioFile named Norman one of the Best Voices of the Century.

Table of Contents

Chef's House
The Compartment
A Small, Good Thing
Where I'm Calling From
The Train
The Bridle

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Cathedral 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is a cruel, un-poetic injustice, that Raymond Carver's life was tragically cut short just when his stories began to take on glimmers of hope that were nowhere to be seen in his earlier collections. When this book first came out, I was eager to read new stories from my favorite 'minimalist' (isn't there a better word these days than 'minimalist'?) writer. Instead, I was reading stories about compassion, good-natured friendships, and even salvation and forgiveness. Sure there were still the choppy sentences, quick observations, and weighty silences. But it was different. Many of the stories, not all, ended with an unusual (for Carver) sense of closure, even understanding. As so many reviewers have noted, the title story is just glorious. The narrator, a sarcastic and distant husband, finds human contact in the strangest circumstance. And when he does, he simply states, 'It was like nothing else in my life up to now.' Simple, but it leaves a serious lump in my throat each time I read it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've seen some things. There was someone who said that 'Cathedral' was Carver's peak, and that here he was starting to go downhill. He'd lost the edge displayed in 'What We Talk About When We Talk About Love,' etc. That's bull. 'Cathedral' was the first major work after Carver came to terms with his alcoholism. In several stories, 'A Small, Good Thing' and 'Cathedral' especially, a strong sense of relief is felt by the characters--as well as the reader. After 'Cathedral,' Carver's work wasn't despondent or bleak. It was art. Pure Gravy. And don't forget it.
ericnguyen09 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
When mentioning the art of the short story, we eventually come to the subject of Raymond Carver. Brought to the height of his career in the 1980s, Carver was known for revival of the short form and for his curt, direct style of writing that came to be known as dirty realism. Of course, there was the controversy between Carver and his editor, Gordon Lish, but by the time Cathedral came out, Carver had already distanced himself away from the editor (he actually re-wrote "The Bath" which in a 21 page extension re-titled "A Small Good Thing.) Cathedral, Carver's last book, shows an evolved writer beyond the minimalist to show something sad (yes, the book is rather depressing) yet essentially human.Among the stories collected here is of course the title story, widely anthologized and widely held as Carver's masterpiece. Within its 19 pages, we see a story of a marriage falling apart and a man's blindness to his love life. The falling apart of life is a theme in the collection. In the dozen stories, we see not only marriages falling apart ("Vitamins") but also families ("The Compartment") and selfhoods ("Where I'm Calling From"). What makes Carver's collection distinct though, is that people don't just fall apart, life slips away from them, but they really have no choice but to survive.His movement is called dirty realism for a reason.Among my favorite stories are "Vitamins," "A Small Good Thing," and "The Train," but everything is worth reading, and you shouldn't be skipping around in a short story collection anyway. To read Cathedral, like any short story collection, you read the first story and then you progress, you savor.Within the Carver's stories, what we taste is a bitter sadness mixed with a subtle hint of fear, but Carver realistically portrays life (that depressing thing) a raw, simple language that you can't help but feel cut, yet want to read on, maybe a bit more.While some might complain that the stories don't progress and that "nothing happens," these are the same people looking at fiction for escapism. Which is not wrong. It's just not what Carver does. To read Carver to examine your own life and the lives of other through a magnifying glass. This aren't fables, kids.
jeffome on LibraryThing 10 months ago
loved this even though several endings baffled me a bit, but likely that was the point, I was immediately captivated with each scenario within a sentence or 2 and wanted to know what happens next....not always the case today with modern fiction, but it is, after all, why i love to read!!
NateJordon on LibraryThing 10 months ago
While "Where I'm Calling From" and "Cathedral" are probably two of the best short-stories in American literature, the rest of the stories in this collection don't reach the same high-water mark. These are snapshots into the mundane lives of ordinary people - which may be poetic in one sense but makes for a boring read in another. While there isn't much happening in the stories, Carver's pacing is also painfully slow at times. Nonetheless, Carver is a master of the craft - what he does with point-of-view is amazing. I recommend this book to all short-story writers - take notes - there's much to learn from Carver's style.
christerd on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Cathedral is a story about a husband and his wife who has a blind friend. The husband is quite close-minded about the blind man and doesn't seem to relate well to him. Carver expertly conceals the husband¿s insecurity by allowing it to come forth over the course of the story. For example, deep down, and rightly so, the husband is worried about the blind man winning over his wife¿s heart. The blind man is the only person that seems to have had a lasting and important impact on the wife¿s life through the good times and the bad. This is why it is so important for her to be there for him in his time of grief. The husband, who is also the narrator, cowers in front of the problems in his life and masks them with substances like alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana. This substance abuse is an escape from the problems within his marriage and most of all, within himself. Even though by the end of the story the narrator finds himself empathizing and opening up with Robert, the blind man, it is not clear to me whether he has solved his own difficulties or those of his marriage.
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