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Kate S.

Great post Danielle. Carver is one of my favourite writers and I would say that yes, all of his work does leave the reader with a great deal to think about. That's his genius I think, or part of it anyway--so few words but so much going on beneath the surface. It's been a long time since I last read "Cathedral" and I'm looking forward to revisiting it. I remember that you said you'd had trouble cross-posting to blogger blogs, so I've just put up a link to your post at "A Curious Singularity."


What a fantastic review, Danielle! I must get around to writing something on this story as I found it tremendously clever and moving when I first read it, a while back now. But you've made such a great start I'll have to think hard what to say!

Dorothy W.

Great post! I love this story and have taught it in my classes, and I think you capture the complexity of what's going on very well. I need to read a collection of Carver's work, as all I've read is a few anthologized works.

John Mutford

I didn't think it lived up to his story "A Small Good Thing" but I did enjoy it.


Kate--Thanks for posting that link. I have so much trouble formatting in blogger that I haven't been cross-posting. Also my computer has it's own issues, so my computer time is limited and I never seem to get around to giving it a try. I'm glad you chose Carver as an author to discuss. I keep meaning to read him and this gave me the perfect excuse. I need to read more!
Litlove--I'd love to hear what you have to say--your writing is always so insightful--and it's always nice having also read the same work! I thought this was clever, too. How do authors do that?! So many different meanings.
Dorothy--I'm always glad when I've read something that is being taught in schools/colleges. It makes me feel like I'm on common ground with other readers. I plan on looking for his collections now, too.
John--This is my first experience reading his work, so I am looking forward to reading more and am glad I have even better work to look forward to!


Carver is a favorite of mine as well, although some of his self-consciously minimalist stories (which may have been made that way by his editor Gordon Lish rather than Carver himself) get on my nerves.

Interestingly enough, there is a controversy surrounding Carver's story--which is widely regarded as his masterpiece--and a far lesser-known story by D.H. Lawrence called the "The Blind Man." It appears Carver may have lifted some elements of his story from Lawrence.

In any case, stolen or not, "Cathedral" is a masterpiece.


J.D.--I think that interview I linked to notes his minimalist work--it sounds like he didn't like it too much either. So far this is the only story I've read. but I plan on looking for more. And how interesting about the D.H. Lawrence story--I'll have to look for it and compare. I was very impressed by what he managed to convey in such a short story!


Carve's story "Cathedral" manages to allow the biased narator to experience, essentially, what his wife felt when the blind man touched her face. I think the Cathedral reference is very important because the image evokes soaring ceilings and the sacred....the limitless. With eyes closed, the narrator virtually enters and understands a cathedral for the first time. Remember his question to the narrator about whether or not he is religious. Also, as a person married to a blind man, I found the prejudices and assumptions both distressing and or course enlightening. This is why the world turns a blind eye to blind people. The ultimate unknown.

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