A Bunch Of Thoughts I Had While Reading Raymond Carver’s What We Talk About When We Talk About Love

Disclaimer: This is not a review.
rain-and-a-book-raymond-carverIf you follow me on Instagram, then you probably know I was really excited about this book.*

Every time someone tells me he/she is a voracious reader, then proceeds to gush about the latest 100-buck newsstand bestseller, I groan inwardly. Then they ask me if I have read it, and I say no with a polite smile, while snootily thinking how I’m “used to better literature” I ask myself if I am turning into that horrible person called a book snob.

Raymond Carver’s What We Talk About When We Talk About Love has proven to me without a doubt that I am not. I am still sighing with relief.

I’d recommend this book to fans of Haruki Murakami. Dark, magical realism? Haha, no. Just mass confusion. Like I said after I’d read Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, I did not get the purpose of these stories. I like my stories to be contained in well-defined plot-lines. Sometimes I even like open-ended stories if they are satisfying in other departments. I like anything that does not make me go, “Yeah, so?”

On the other hand, master storyteller, Mr. Carver has left me baffled, and feeling, if I may say so, quite unsophisticated. It appears to me I do not appreciate the fine art of sparsely constructed sentences or, erm, episodic stories or vignettes about boring individuals. While the stories in Murakami’s book had some creepy elements, Carver’s stories have an undercurrent of bitter grimness. Old couples who seem unwilling to go on with their grating, lonely lives, drinking their way through it all, bored and cynical.

And here I am, just, you know, yawning.

Whether Carver’s stories are an acquired taste or not is not for me to decide. He seems madly popular (this book has a rating of 4.24 on Goodreads, if ratings mean anything to you) and I feel like someone the bouncer kicked out of a club. No doubt, the sparse narrative and conversational dialogue adds to its appeal, and are perhaps the reason the critics love this one, but I hate it when I turn the page over and see something’s ended when I was most definitely expecting more.

What am I missing?

Goodreads | Amazon

*I’m weeping; I feel like my book instinct cheated me.


6 thoughts on “A Bunch Of Thoughts I Had While Reading Raymond Carver’s What We Talk About When We Talk About Love

  1. I haven’t read this book, but I know exactly what you are talking about. I am currently reading a series of short stories by an Indian author,and this is exactly how I feel about it.

    See, I for one, enjoy romance, and even human interest stories, but it can’t be/shouldn’t be– pointless. This one is. It’s just about boring people being boring together. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. After looking at the ratings, I am still skeptical you know how the ratings can be rigged. Thats when I really turn to book bloggers’ reviews. I can understand the sort of book you are talking about. I once read a V.S.Naipaul. The book had a lot of appreciation on the back cover and everything looked good. When I started reading, I did not know what to do. Of course, the text was quite photographic and I could imagine an art film made with it, but story ended very abruptly after all that build up. Suddenly on the last page, it has ended. So.. some are like that.. what to do?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In this case, I don’t think the ratings were rigged because I read up about Raymond Carver and he is a critics’ favourite and considered a master storyteller and whatnot.
      Yes, very art film kind – lots of silence, sparse dialogue, just for those up on some other intellectual plane to enjoy! đŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

    1. In this particular book, I found the characters boring, not the author himself. However, I didn’t feel like rushing to buy another Carver to find out if he has other interesting characters or not. Maybe I’ll go back to him a few years later or maybe I won’t. If his writing’s not for me, I’m sure I can live with that.

      Liked by 1 person

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