What I talk about when I talk about Raymond Carver

About 10 years ago, I only love classic novels. I love the sophisticated stories meticulously developed. I love the solid and consistent characters, you know, the good, the bad and the ugly. I love how the stories separated me from the sad and naked reality. I love how I could cry with and laugh along all the characters who bore resemblance with myself somehow, but they were much more condensed, consistent and dramatic.

As I grow up, it’s harder for me to be impressed. I would no longer picture myself wandering in a story, or getting lost in a romantic twist. I gradually come to realize that the good could also be the bad and the ugly might not be that ugly after all. Since then, I find it harder to pick up something after a while of strolling along the aisle piled with best-selling books in a fancy bookstore. I prefer digging up an old bookstore, diving into the most neglected and dusty corners to find out some sleeping-beauties which do not seem to interest a huge crowd in the small town where I’m dwelling.

Just like that, I found “The cathedral” – collected stories by Raymond Carver. I was carried away by the simplicity of the plot, by the fresh breath of life artistically brought into each story, by how the reality could be filtered to be translucent enough to set some light through. If there could be something that really touches my soul, that would be the truth. The truth that we human are more fragile than we think, and even a smallest twist of fate can break us.

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