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Where I'm Calling From - Book Review

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by Bastion Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
Published November 5th 2012
Vinegar and Marriage
raymond carver
Raymond Carver
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Raymond Carver's collection of short stories is portrayed perfectly by Lord Bryon's powerful summation from Don Juan. 'Marriage from love, like vinegar from wine.' The controversial statement leaves no words wasted or meaning lost and shares similar themes to Carver's Where I'm Calling From. Both focus on the bleak and sinister circumstances that are formed by a nuptial union.

Many of Carver's stories are based on troubled marital relations. In They're Not You're Husband, he paints a compelling portrait of a broken marriage, the love for one another extinguished. A fine example is when Earl Ober starves his wife to an inch of her waist in an attempt to make his perfect sex toy.

What We Talk About When We Talk About Love is a dark but thought provoking story. It takes a look into the lives of those in abusive relationships, such as Terri, whose boyfriend 'loved her so much he tried to kill here.'

Carver creates emotive stories through simplistic wording, 'he read the classifieds. He went to the state employment office', is a perfect example. Never forcing an opinion on us, Carver allows the reader to have their own view. In Neighbours, character Bill Miller puts 'on a black and white chequered skirt', but is never criticised by the author; rather, the reader can come to their own conclusions. There is the added irony that a couple, whose flame is dimming, 'made love again' after being reawakened by the freedom of looking after their wealthy neighbours' apartment.

The brevity of Carver's stories forms a gripping narrative. Sharp and concise plots in lieu of flowery speech and grandiloquent narratives are beneficially adopted to allow the reader to bring in their own interpretations.
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Why? Enjoy some short stories
Cost: RRP 12.99, but you can usually find it cheaper.
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