From What we talk about when we talk about love
by Raymond Carver (1981)
I love Raymond Carver the poet, but I had no clue to who he was as a short story writer. I’m glad to say that I’m learning. “What we talk about when we talk about love” is a classic short story. The story is about four friends who are having a conversation about love. Mel and Terri and one couple, who carry the battle scars from their last marriages, and Nick and Laura, newlyweds who are still very much in love. Mel tells through vignettes about Terri’s ex-husband Ed and an elderly married couple, what he thinks and feels love is.
My favorite character in the story is Mel. He reminds me of the Jim Casy/preacher character in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. Mel philosophizes about love, wanting to know what is love, how can love come and go with various people, and is it more than just a memory. But in the end he admits, “I don’t know anything.”
A great short story.