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Will you please be quiet, please ? by…
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Will you please be quiet, please ? (original 1976; edition 1999)

by Raymond Carver

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1,179106,832 (4.14)18
Member:sneeuwvlokje
Title:Will you please be quiet, please ?
Authors:Raymond Carver
Info:London Harvill 1999
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:buitenlandse literatuur, korte verhalen, Amerika

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Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? by Raymond Carver (1976)

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Working my way through the canon. Raymond Carver is one of the most pre-eminent writers of the past century, ranking alongside Hemingway, Chekhov and Cheever as a master of the short story. (And also as one of the key figures giving rise to the romanticism of the alcoholic author, along with Hemingway and Kingsley Amis.) Will You Please Be Quiet, Please is his first collection of short fiction, published in 1976.

Carver, again like Hemingway, is famous for having a fairly bare style. I’m not a fan of this. I’m OK with it when Hemingway uses it to describe lion hunting in Africa and skiing in Switzerland, but not so much when Carver uses it to describe unhappy middle-class couples in mid-century America having evasive conversations. I like short stories to have either a vivid, baroque writing style, or an interesting plot, or ideally both. Carver sadly checks neither box. Will You Please Be Quiet, Please has a few stories in it that piqued my interest – specifically “Jerry, Molly and Sam,” about a father driving his kids’ dog out into the middle of nowhere and abandoning it, and “Are These Actual Miles?”, about a man in financial trouble who suspects his wife of infidelity – but for the most part I found them formulaic and somewhat empty; brimming with dull moments of epiphany. I half-suspect whoever wrote the Wikipedia page for this collection is taking the piss; consider this synopsis for the story “How About This:”

A couple comes to look at the woman’s father’s deserted place in the country. Maybe they will move there.

It’s all well and good to cite the Iceberg Theory and have a story where much remains unsaid and you have to read between the lines, but I don’t have much inclination to do so in stories about struggling relationships (and more than half the stories in here are about struggling relationships) with bitter comments made in restaurants and living rooms. I don’t really feel like googling an analysis of a story after I’ve read it. This collection often feels like it comprises of stories made to be dissected in a classroom discussion, rather than to be read, appreciated and enjoyed. ( )
1 vote edgeworth | Sep 11, 2014 |
Jeez, I loved the hell out of this book. Just that. ( )
  Librarianlacey | Sep 9, 2013 |
I just finished [b:Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?|11446|Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?|Raymond Carver|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1166476709s/11446.jpg|1038760] by Raymond Carver. I'm dovetailed reading Carver with reading the biography the came out last year, [b:Raymond Carver: A Writer's Life|5789689|Raymond Carver A Writer's Life|Carol Sklenicka|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1274275666s/5789689.jpg|5961634]by Carol Sklenicka.

I must say, I really am finding Carver to be a kindred spirit. I remember those desperate days of my youth when I was a student, lived on a shoestring, and moved house frequently. These early stories mostly concern married couples in that condition, or people transgressing societal boundaries. Restless people trying to eke out their version of the American Dream.

Each of these stories, in and of itself, could give a book group enough to chew on over a couple hours of dinner conversation. The endings are invariably ambiguous enough to be susceptible to several different interpretations. All of the stories will leave you feeling uneasy. Some are downright creepy.

The title story is the longest one in the book. In it, a husband and wife have been living with an elephant in the room for several years: the specter of the wife's possible infidelity and the husband's violent reaction to that possibility. When the infidelity is finally revealed, the husband sets out one night's odyssey before he decides what to do about the new information he's gained. I use the term "odyssey" advisedly, as there are echoes of both Odysseus and Leopold Bloom here, although here an epic is presented in a clean twenty pages.

I look forward to watching Carver continue to master the shirt story form. ( )
  EricKibler | Apr 6, 2013 |
Carver is a more mysterious Hemingway: simple prose and something happening below the story's conscious. In these stories, the family life is suspect and ideals are challenged with blunt realism that sometimes turns into subtle magical-realism. Carver knows how to end, without pomp and circumstance but with meaning flapping just before your nose. ( )
  TJWilson | Mar 29, 2013 |
Snapshots of minute detail of daily suburban life written in the barest prose possible. I'm sure that's up someone's alley, but I like my minutiae with a dose of brilliance a la Woolf and my sparse prose with a dose of beauty a la Hemingway. These stories aren't brilliant or beautiful, but they are confusing and very, very realist. If that's your jam, this is your jam. If that is not your jam, this is meh. ( )
1 vote deadwhiteguys | Jul 27, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
In Raymond Carver's mechanistic universe there is such an economy of equilibrium that the slightest act may slip a cog and break down the whole machine. He works meticulously, fitting the pieces in place, squinting at each fact in the chain through a jeweler's eyepiece. Then, suddenly, he opens a door a crack, lighting up a whole room.
added by Shortride | editThe New York Times, Richard F. Lingeman (pay site) (Apr 30, 1976)
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679735690, Paperback)

With this, his first collection of stories, Raymond Carver breathed new life into the American short story. Carver shows us the humor and tragedy that dwell in the hearts of ordinary people; his stories are the classics of our time.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:26:06 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

With this, his first collection of stories, Raymond Carver breathed new life into the American short story and instantly became both the recognized master of the form and one of our best-loved and most widely read fiction writers. His stories can "be counted among the masterpieces of American fiction".--The New York Times Book Review.… (more)

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