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Cathedral (1983)

by Raymond Carver

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,504854,078 (4.16)51
Raymond Carver said it was possible 'to write about commonplace things and objects using commonplace but precise language and endow these things - a chair, a window curtain, a fork, a stone, a woman's earring - with immense, even startling power'. Nowhere is this alchemy more striking than in the title story of Cathedral in which a blind man guides the hand of a sighted man as together they draw the cathedral the blind man can never see. Many view this story, and indeed this collection, as a watershed in the maturing of Carver's work to a more confidently poetic style.… (more)

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» See also 51 mentions

English (77)  Spanish (4)  French (2)  Italian (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (85)
Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
"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 |
¿3.7? Una cosa así.

Para lo que todo el mundo dice de Carver (que es uno de los más grandes cuentistas de todos los tiempos), varios de estos cuentos me dejaron frío frío. Si se trata de retratar impecablemente lo cotidiano en un cuento (y si se trata de norteamericanos), me sigue gustando más lo poco que he leído de Cheever, de Munro y de Berlin. Sin embargo, un par de cuentos de esta antología sí me hicieron sentir que estaba frente a uno de los grandes, en especial "A Small, Good Thing", "Careful", "Fever" y "Cathedral". Si hubiera leído sólo estos cuatro cuentos, Carver sería de mis favoritos: todos tienen ese momento extraordinario de revelación. Pero bueno, así son las antologías. ( )
  LeoOrozco | Feb 26, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 77 (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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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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