WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT LOVE.

Carver, Raymond.

Published by KNOPF., 1981
ISBN 10: 0394516842 / ISBN 13: 9780394516844
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Third printing. INSCRIBED & dated in 1987 by Raymond Carver to the noted screenwriter Charles K. Eastman on the half-title page. Fine in a close to fine dj. (1/2"-inch closed tear in dj.) Lovely copy of the author's most celebrated collection of stories. (B). Bookseller Inventory #

About this title:

Synopsis: Short stories that feature a pantheon of losers, peripheral people, and men and women without education, insight, or prospects who, ironically, are too unimaginative to ever give up

Review: "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" is not only the most well-known short story title of the latter part of the 20th century; it has come to stand for an entire aesthetic, the bare-bones prose style for which Raymond Carver became famous. Perhaps, it could be argued, too famous, at least for his fiction's own good. Like those of Hemingway or any other writer similarly loved, imitated, parodied, and reviled, these stories can sometimes produce the sense of reading pastiche. "A man without hands came to the door to sell me a photograph of my house." "That morning she pours Teacher's over my belly and licks it off. That afternoon she tries to jump out the window." "My friend Mel McGinnis was talking. Mel is a cardiologist, and sometimes that gives him the right." What other writer ever produced first sentences like these? They are like doors into Carverworld, where everyone speaks in simple declarative phrases, no one ever stops at one beer, and failure or violence are the true outcomes of the American dream.

Yet these stories bear careful re-reading, like any truly important and enduring work. For one thing, Carver is one of the few writers who can make desperation--cutting your ex-wife's telephone cord in the middle of a conversation, standing on your own roof chunking rocks while a man with no hands takes your picture--deeply funny. Then there is the sheer craft that went into their creation. Despite their seeming simplicity, his tales are as artfully constructed as poems--and like poems, the best of them can make your breath catch in your throat. In the title piece, for instance, after the gin has been drunk, after the stories have been told, after the tensions in the room have come to the surface and subsided again, there comes a moment of strange lightness and peace: "I could hear my heart beating. I could hear everyone's heart. I could hear the human noise we sat there making, not one of us moving, not even when the room went dark."

Much of what happens in What We Talk About When We Talk About Love (1981) happens offstage, and we're left with tragedy's props: booze, instant coffee, furniture from a failed marriage, cigarettes smoked in the middle of the night. This is not merely a matter of technique. Carver leaves out a great deal, but that's only a measure of his characters' vulnerability, the nerve endings his stories lay bare. To say anything more, one feels, would simply hurt too much. --Mary Park

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Bibliographic Details

Title: WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT LOVE.
Publisher: KNOPF.
Publication Date: 1981
Book Condition: Fine
Edition: Reprint

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Book Description Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Hardcover. Condition: Fair. A readable copy. All pages are intact, and the cover is intact. Pages can include considerable notes-in pen or highlighter-but the notes cannot obscure the text. An ex-library book and may have standard library stamps and/or stickers. At ThriftBooks, our motto is: Read More, Spend Less. Seller Inventory # G0394516842I5N10

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Book Description Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Westminster, MD, U.S.A., 1981. Hardcover. Condition: Near Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine. 1st Edition. Book Description: Alfred Knopf, New York, 1981. Cloth. Book Condition: Near Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: near fine. There is a slight tear on top of front cover. Never read. This is a first edition, first printing of the author's second collection of short stories. A lovely near fine copy in bright near fine dustwrapper with original $9.95 price to front flap. Bookseller Inventory # 10005. Seller Inventory # 000008

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