What We Talk About When We Talk About Love: Stories

Written by Raymond Carver

JUNE 18, 1989 • 5.15 x 8 • 176 PAGES • 978-0679723059

4 Stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.

There are books that can just be enjoyed on their own and then there are books that are meant to be discussed. Carver’s collection of short stories are the latter for me. He uses tightly woven dialogue and basic repetition to create a melody that is heavy and haunting despite its simplicity. His writing is unapologetically unsentimental.

Each story in this collection is its own unique vignette of how love manifests in the most complex spaces, but written with a language that understates its reality. He covers topics from lying, change, and addiction to infidelity, rape, and domestic abuse; & despite these stories being small snippets of human interaction and connection, Carver still paints a holistic picture of what we think love is and how that can look in its mundane and ugly moments more-so than its grand ones.

My personal favorites are:


“The Bath”

“Tell the Women We’re Going”

“So Much Water So Close to Home”

“Popular Mechanics”

I think the last time I geeked over stylistics was years ago when I read “The God of Small Things” by Arundhati Roy– a great read if you want to explore the musicality of language. This collection is on the other side of the spectrum. A play on the musicality of language through the hands of a minimalist.

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