Friday, March 9

Short Cuts

I've had this book on my shelf for years but haven't gotten around to actually reading it. But I was working on my revision for fiction class and Carver is one author that short story writing teachers often point to. The crispness of language, spare images and description reminds me of Hemingway.

But I liked Short Cuts first (again) as a film. I saw it first in film class many years ago. Must be the second most viewed Robert Altman film in film classes. What attracted me to the movie was how Altman was able to put together all those narrative threads together and not make it look like each little story is "bitin." When I learned that the material for the script was actually taken from stories by Raymond Carver, I was even more intrigued. There's this discussion that short stories lend themselves more (in)credibly to the screen, and I suppose Carver's work and what Altman did with it was an evidence of that.

As for the Carver stories, I really like the one about the baker and the birthday cake. I think it was called "The Bath" in What We Talk About When We Talk About Love but it's called "A Small, Good Thing" in the new compilation. There's also the one about this guy who decided to get rid of his children's dog. They're all stories of ordinary folks who suffer through this really "quiet desperation." I know I heard that last phrase somewhere else before but just can't pin it down right now.

So that's it for this year's Book # 6. Fabulous book. You should all read it.

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