Saturday, August 30, 2008

Cynicism, regret, and unhappiness

The third short story collection I read this summer -- just finished it today -- was Where I'm Calling From by Raymond Carver. As I mentioned earlier, I really admire Carver's writing and style, and the latter stories in this book are vastly superior to the early ones. One common feature I've noticed about Carver, and this book in particular, is that many of these stories are downright depressing. A lot of the characters are on their second (or third) spouse, and none of them seem to be very happy. Several stories deal with the very moment of breaking up and dissolving a relationship. There's a fair amount of cynicism, regret, and unhappiness that seeps through this collection. Not that these are bad stories by any means -- quite the opposite -- but it's not the feel-good kind of book you want to read to lift up your spirits. Sadly (?), I can relate all too well to the feelings that a lot of Carver's characters are going through.


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