Raymond Carver s genius was a genius of selection. In these twelve stories the right word, the quick phrase, the unexpected allusion open up a whole new world of meaning behind the people and objects he describes. His is a world of ordinary human beings going about the unexceptional business of their lives, but his images acquire a strange, transforming power of their own. Nowhere is this alchemy more striking than at the end of the title story, where the hand of a blind man guides the hand of a sighted man as together they draw the cathedral the blind man has never seen. Many have seen this story, as marking a significant stage in Carver s transition to the more confidently poetic style of his mature work and the whole collection demonstrates the artistry of a writer with the desire and skills to expand his range and ambitions.
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It was morning in America when Raymond Carver's Cathedral came out in 1983, but the characters in this dry collection of short stories from the forgotten corners of land of opportunity didn't receive much sunlight. Nothing much happens to the subjects of Carver's fiction, which is precisely why they are so harrowing: nothingness is a daunting presence to overcome. And rarely do they prevail, but the loneliness and quiet struggle the characters endure provide fertile ground for literary triumph, particularly in the hands of Carver, who was perhaps in his best form with this effort.From the Inside Flap:
n stories that overflow with the danger, excitement, mystery and possibility of life...Carver is a writer of astonishing compassion and honesty...his eye set only on describing and revealing the world as he sees it. His eye is so clear, it almost breaks your heart."--Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World
"Cathedral contains astonishing achievements, which bespeaks a writer expanding his range of intentions."--The Boston Globe
"A few of Mr. Carver's stories can already be counted among the masterpieces of American fiction...Cathedral shows a gifted writer struggling for a larger scope of reference, a finer touch of nuance." --Irving Howe, front page, The New York Times Book Review
"Clear, hard language so right that we shiver at the knowledge we gain from it." --Thomas Williams, Chicago Tribune Book World
"Carver is more than a
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