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Cathedral (1983)

by Raymond Carver

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,634864,082 (4.16)52
Raymond Carver's third collection of stories, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, including the canonical titular story about blindness and learning to enter the very different world of another.  These twelve stories mark a turning point in Carver's work and "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).… (more)
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English (78)  Spanish (4)  French (2)  Italian (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (86)
Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
Wow, how did I ever miss this? I loved these stories and his style. Arresting. Crisp. I know I’ll carry a few of these with me - particularly, "A Small Good Thing." ( )
  shaundeane | Sep 13, 2020 |
"Who do you know in Egypt?" he asks me. "I can use a few names over there." ( )
  jrmypttrsn | Sep 5, 2019 |
My first book by Raymond Carver. I admire everything he manages to packs into each story but have always had trouble picking up on symbolism and reading into deeper meanings than what I feel intuitively and have difficulty verbalizing. One recurring theme is the difficulty we have communicating with one another and with understanding ourselves. This is borne out with repeated references to heavy drinkers and alcoholism; how so many people choose this easy escape in a glass to deal with inconvenient feelings and situations.

Not all the stories in this collection involve booze, but miscommunication is a major theme and they are overall rather bleak and depressing, so I took my time reading them bit by bit, not wanting to be dragged down with despair. The title story Cathedral illustrates this perfectly. The narrators wife announces an old blind friend is coming over for a visit after losing his wife to cancer. She and this friend have had a regular correspondence over many years and exchanged many intimate details about their inner lives and their marriages. As for the narrator, he can barely think of a blind person as a fully realized human being and seems to think their lack of sight means they aren’t able to enjoy life. It is soon revealed that while most people are able to look, few take the time to actually see.

With his simple pared down language, Carver invites us to look beyond the surface and to find true meaning. I think that’s what he’s doing in any case. I’ll need to read more articles analyzing his work maybe. But then again, sometimes I think it’s okay to just intuit things without seeking to understand them logically either. Our inner eye sees so much more than we allow for after all. ( )
  Smiler69 | Jun 23, 2019 |
I got past 50 pages before deciding not to waste more time on this.

I do appreciate that if someone is going to leave his stories hanging it is better that he does this after 10 pages than after 400. But I still don't like it. ( )
  MarthaJeanne | Jun 17, 2019 |
Carver's voice is unmistakable, mesmerizing, and real. I was drawn into every story through the power of this voice, even the stories that didn't touch me. But many of these did touch me. My particular favorites are "Feathers," "A Small, Good Thing," "The Train," and "Cathedral." At times the overbearing depression of the stories weighed on me, as if their repetitiveness--too much drinking, recently broken marriages--made each one more depressing than the last. Personally I most enjoyed the ones with glimpses of hope at the end; not idealistic turnarounds, just the potential for hope: "A Small, Good Thing" and "Cathedral" being perfect examples. Regardless of my personal reaction, Carver has one of the most distinct and graspable American voices of the past century. ( )
  petermoccia | Mar 20, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
The Cathedral is a story of how a man, known as the narrator, overcomes his predisposition towards a culture that is unknown to him. From the beginning, the narrator does not like Robert, and he really has no reason for it. He has his stereotypes that he sticks to in the beginning, until Robert starts to prove many of them false. It is apparent that the narrator is very big on appearance, and this is shown through his fascination that a blind man had a beard. Later in the story, the narrator also points out that Robert did not wear sunglasses or use a cane. The narrator thought about how pitiful Roberts wife was, and how awful their relationship must have been because she would never receive a compliment based on her looks by her loved one. This shows what type of a husband he is, and what he values in his marriage. The narrator doesn't seem to have many friends, and his wife even points this out, and he seems to drink and smoke a lot. Although he can see, in comparison, he seems like the blind one. Although Robert is physically blind, he is a real jack of trades. He hasn't let his blindness get in the way of his happiness and it just goes to show that you can be blind, and still truly see. The narrator begins to understand this at the end of the story when he draws the cathedral with Robert and begins to bridge the gap between himself and true understanding.
added by smyth104 | editSchool
 

» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Raymond Carverprimary authorall editionscalculated
Duranti, RiccardoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Tess Gallagher
For Tess Gallagher and in memory of John Gardner
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This friend of mine from work, Bud, he asked Fran and me to supper.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Raymond Carver's third collection of stories, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, including the canonical titular story about blindness and learning to enter the very different world of another.  These twelve stories mark a turning point in Carver's work and "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).

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Book description
Contains: Feathers -- Chef's house -- Preservation -- The compartment -- A small, good thing -- Vitamins -- Careful -- Where I'm calling from -- The train -- Fever -- The bridle -- Cathedral.
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