Where I'm Calling From: Selected Stories

Where I'm Calling From: Selected Stories

by Raymond Carver


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780679722311
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/28/1989
Series: Vintage Contemporaries Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 544
Sales rank: 218,178
Product dimensions: 5.13(w) x 7.98(h) x 0.94(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.

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Where I'm Calling From: Selected Stories 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
sarasalted on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Not much to be said is there? This is Carver, he knew what he was doing, I am pleased to read his words. Really pleased.
andyray on LibraryThing 8 months ago
the man has a singular voice, and for the life of me i don't know what it is that grips me so about his fiction. maybe it's the way he eases us into his fictional world? the stories are mostly vignettes rather than following the classical story line, but the endings are always guaranteed to leave one thinking.
donp on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The first collection of shorts that I've ever read all the way through, in order, from front to back.
ablueidol on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Have you ever had one of those Blair moments when after weeks of being nice to everyone you have to finally make a decision which means that enemies are made as they see a must have dismissed? Well this is one of those moments. I have been struggling with Raymond Carver¿s ¿Where I'm Calling From¿ a collection of thirty-seven stories chosen from several previous collections published over 20 odd years which should therefore be an ideal introduction to his work. And¿ wait for it¿ I am going to abandon it unfinished half way despite him being seen As "the American Chekhov or the laureate of the dispossessed¿Let me say up front, that his prose, ear for dialogue and depiction of the ordinariness of every day life masking unexpressed pain and joy is the best. His stories are like photos that capture the moment frozen with no past or future with all the ambiguity that the unknown allows the reader/observer. The opposite of Norman Rockwell homeliness, more akin to the photos of Walker Evans of Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. But they have no plot, twists, surprises, or surface complexity of character. These are often blue collar workers in small-town or rural settings struggling with jobs, partners, children and booze and it¿s the unsaid that reveals more then the fractured words.The stories reflect his own drink problems and failed jobs and marriage in his 20s so he turned to writing to escape and short stories could get something in quickly to pay the rent and get food on the table. His life did begin to turn around and his work started to get critical alarm in his 40¿s before he died of lung cancer. His accessible prose, realistic situations and comprehensible characters are seen as a counter to egghead experimentalismBut for me, I was left all too often thinking yes and what happens next even while the image created hung in my head. I also think that stories ripped from their original magazine context make the stories work harder then they needed to. I would have welcomed an edition that merged the stories with a set of photographs worthy of the writing. However, if you want to dip in and perhaps read a couple a stories a week or if you enjoy short stories then this is a book for you. As you say at the end of a failed relationship its not you it¿s me, and lets remain friends. Knowing it¿s really about the lack of passion. Yet the spurned has the chance of real love else where¿will that be you?
upstairsgirl on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I didn't finish this book, which is rare for me. I know Carver is meant to be a genius of the short story, but I find his characters difficult to care about, and he is mean to cats one too many times for my taste. I just don't see what everyone else does.
davidabrams on LibraryThing 11 months ago
August 2, 1988 was one of the saddest days of my life. It was the day Raymond Carver died of lung cancer. He was fifty years old and, in the course of his relatively short life, he¿d set the literary world spinning on a new course with his sparse-but-intense short stories. "Where I¿m Calling From" collects the best works published during Carver¿s lifetime and adds seven new unpublished stories.Carver shattered the literary world, but he also sent an earthquake rumbling through my own life. I was in my early 20s, struggling as a new husband, father and working-class wage-earner, when I first read something by Carver. It was an essay called "Fires" in a collection of essays, stories and poems of the same name. I can¿t remember what I was doing at the time, but I know that at some point while reading "Fires," my knees buckled and I had to sit down. Somehow, Carver had captured my life in his words. In the essay, he describes his early days as a struggling writer (yep, I thought, that¿s me) and having to compete for a dryer at a public laundromat (yep, been there, too, Ray). And then he wrote:"I remember thinking at that moment, amid the feelings of helpless frustration that had me close to tears, that nothing¿and, brother, I mean nothing¿that ever happened to me on this earth could come anywhere close, could possibly be as important to me, could make as much difference, as the fact that I had two children. And that I would always have them and always find myself in this position of unrelieved responsibility and permanent distraction."Unrelieved responsibility and permanent distraction. I gulped and looked over my shoulder to see if Carver was standing there, taking notes on my life.Since that day, I¿ve read everything Carver ever wrote and I have never failed to be impressed at how well he captures the heart and soul of American life. His characters are always burdened with things like divorce, alcoholism and that unrelieved responsibility of life. Yet, glum as this sounds, there¿s also a spirit of hope threaded throughout his stories. There is pain, but there is love, too.Carver was not the first writer to use the minimalist style he became notorious for (neither, for that matter, was Hemingway), but he did bring a refreshing voice to American literature at a time when it so desperately needed renewal (the late 1970s and early 1980s).Some of the best stories in "Where I¿m Calling From" include "One More Thing," "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love," "Distance" and "Cathedral." My favorite Carver story is also here¿"A Serious Talk," in which the image of a pumpkin pie dropped in a driveway carries so much thematic weight. I could read this story once a week for the rest of my life and still be moved. The same goes for the short-short called "Little Things" (elsewhere, it bears the title "Popular Mechanics"). In the space of about 500 words, Carver delivers a deeply shattering modern fable about the effects of child custody. The whole collection ends with "Errand," the last story Carver wrote. It¿s a change of pace, fleshier and more lyrical and, for the first time, not set in twentieth-century America. "Errand" is about the last night in the life of Anton Chekhov, the great Russian short story writer. It is an elegy which, ironically, shadows Carver¿s own death shortly after he wrote it. It¿s also fitting that Chekhov was the subject of Carver¿s last work. If anyone is worthy of the Russian¿s crown, it is Carver.In "¿When We Talk About Raymond Carver," a collection of interviews with Carver¿s friends and fellow writers, Richard Ford says that in his writing, Carver "attempted to give language to things¿to moments in life¿which, until you read his story, you never realized existed¿His stories made you pay close attention to life.""Where I¿m Calling From" is filled with those kind of moments. On every page, there is a fresh revelation about the way we live our lives. And everywhere, you¿ll see the big generous heart of Carve
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People who consider Raymond Carver to be a strictly minimalist writer should really read this book from cover to cover. What they will discover is a career on the cusp of change, just before the author's life was tragically cut short. The stories are presented in chronological order. The opening dozen stories or so are classics of minimalist style which reaches its peak with the devestating 3-page story 'Little Things' in which a child is literally torn apart by its parents divorce. But Carver's tone and style changes in the stories that follow. 'What We Talk About When We Talk about Love' and the gut-wrenching 'So Much Water So Close To Home' take on a new level of story-telling where Carver gives us a more intimate look at his characters. The last two of the previously published stories are nothing like the earlier stories. In 'Cathedral', a typical Carver married man--distant, cynical, and slightly smug--makes surprising contact with another human being, presumably for the first time, in the most unlikely of situations. It is almost a salvation. 'A Good Small Thing' (which was a revision of an earlier story called 'Scotty') is nothing less than a masterpiece. In Carver's earlier career, this story would have ended bitterly and, perhaps, indifferently. Instead, this story ends up with an astonishing flavor of hope, forgiveness, and even closure. The seven 'New Stories' at the collection's end just drive home the fact that Carver was really moving forward or at least in a new direction. I defy anyone to read 'Intimacy' or 'Elephant' and say, 'Typical minimalism.' I would place a heavy bet that the reader would reply the same way I did, 'Damn! Damn! Can you imagine what he'd be writing if he were still with us?' Damn.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I never heard of Ray Carver until I read this book for my Eng Lit class in college. I felt it was such a strong self-reflection of Carver's own life. Captivating! Many of his endings are left for the reader's imagination to come up with their own suitable ending to the story with or without a moral. Very sad at times also.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book belongs in the Pantheon of American short fiction collections. Very few American writers match his gift for the short story and this book contains all his most celebrated works. Kick yourself if you consider yourself a true reader and haven't read at least 50% of this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best short stories collection I have ever read. Carver's characters are as real as they would be real life people.
Boomer48 More than 1 year ago
Mr. Carver is a genius who has done a great deal for the short story, but, unfortunately, this collection is tedious to me. The drinking, flawed characters took a toll on me, and, while I can appreciate his flair for realistic dialogue, I tire of the plots that seem to all end in unhappiness or ambiguity. Others may not agree and will have to pick up a copy and judge for themselves.