Tuesday, August 26, 2014

What We Talk About When We Talk About Love: Book Review

By Sunaina Patnaik at Tuesday, August 26, 2014

“All this, all of this love we're talking about, it would just be a memory. Maybe not even a memory. Am I wrong? Am I way off base? Because I want you to set me straight if you think I'm wrong. I want to know. I mean, I don't know anything, and I'm the first one to admit it.” 

― Raymond Carver

I am really fed up. Fed up of these moronic hundred something fiction books, and the self-proclaimed Mythology books that butcher Mythology in many million ways. 

You might call me a mean person, but I had a tough time rummaging through book stores for decent Literature. (Of course, you always have the Classics and the Austen, but I was craving for a new writer.)

Like a spot of sunshine in dramatic moments, my brother sent me Raymond Carver's What We Talk About When We Talk About Love for my birthday. 

I have always wanted to read Raymond Carver but never got around to reading his books. Now that I have read two of his books, I absolutely love his work. 

What We Talk About When We Talk About Love is a collection of short stories. There is something utterly mysterious about these stories - stories that are poignant yet surreal. This collection is all about people without any education, logic or imagination whose lives revolve around depression, hatred, tender emotions, alcoholism, and love. 

And love is love, isn't it? Educated or not, imaginative or all, we all are intoxicated by that emotion that makes or breaks our world. 

The stories that were stuck in my head after reading are:

1. Everything Stuck to Him: Our parents always have a version of stories of our childhood. In this story, a father tells her young daughter how life was for everyone when she was a child.

2. Popular Mechanics: I could not stop imagining this story in my head. Bits and pieces, shreds and patches, this story left a huge impact on me for a day or two.

A couple has a conflict; the man packs his suitcase to leave; the woman swears and yells at him; and their baby is crying. They both want the baby and enter into a tug-of-war but the story ends with an ambiguity. The couple end up staying together.

It is a beautiful story and as you read it, you can vividly picture every scene in your mind.

But it is the final story that takes the hot cake. What We Talk About When We Talk About Love is the final story that talks about four friends who sit with around a bucket of ice with a bottle of gin inside it. They talk about love, and who doesn't want to know what we talk about when we talk about love?

This story (and the book) ends with these lovely lines that struck a chord with me:

"I could hear my heart beating. I could hear everyone's heart. I could hear the human noise we sat there making, not one of us moving, not even when the room went dark."

It is strange how some books become an integral part of your life, the characters that haunt you, the stories that make you curious about the writer. This book will always remain as one of the best books I have read because I met this book as a dear friend when I was looking for a relief.

You can buy the book here:

  • ISBN-10: 0679723056
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679723059
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Vintage Books ed edition (18 June 1989)
  • Buy it here: http://www.amazon.in/What-Talk-About-When-Love/dp/0679723056


Aman said...

Ordering it. :)

Your writing is smooth. Slowly blending into self forming crests and troughs leaving you with a smile.

Sunaina on 26 Aug 2014, 20:49:00 said...

@Aman: Thank you so much. :)

saichandra sv on 24 Oct 2014, 13:22:00 said...

Still I have a long list of books to read through this would in that list


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