What We Talk About When We Talk About Love / Beginners (Vintage Shorts Series)
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
A Vintage Shorts "Short Story Month" Selection
From one of the most celebrated short-story writers in American literature, the story that launched a thousand homages, in word and film--a haunting meditation on love and companionship, and finding one's way through the dark.
"What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" is included here with its unedited version, "Beginners," which was originally submitted to Carver's editor, Gordon Lish. In this eShort, readers can compare both versions of this iconic work of fiction, gaining insight into Carver's aesthetic and the foundations of the contemporary American short story.
winter it would do nothing but snow and for maybe months at a time they couldn’t leave the ranch, the road would be closed. Besides, he had to feed cattle every day through those winter months. They would just be there together, the two of them, him and his wife. The kids hadn’t come along yet. They’d come along later. But month in, month out, they’d be there together, the two of them, the same routine, the same everything, never anyone else to talk to or to visit with during those winter months.
feel my heart beating. Somewhere toward the back of the house the shower was running. Terri was still crying. Slowly and with an effort, I turned to look at her. She lay with her head on the table, her face turned toward the stove. Her eyes were open, but now and then she would blink away tears. Laura had pulled her chair over and sat with an arm around Terri’s shoulders. She murmured still, her lips against Terri’s hair. “Sure, sure,” Terri said. “Tell me about it.” “Terri, sweetheart,” Laura
tired, that’s all.” “Herb, we love you,” Laura said. Herb looked at Laura. It was as if he couldn’t place her for a minute. She kept looking at him, holding her smile. Her cheeks were flushed and the sun was hitting her in the eyes, so she squinted to see him. His features relaxed. “Love you too, Laura. And you, Nick. I’ll tell you, you’re our pals,” Herb said. He picked up his glass. “Well, what was I saying? Yeah. I wanted to tell you about something that happened a while back. I think I
You know what’s what, don’t you Nick?” he said. “Also, you’d carry around their perfumed hankies with you wherever you rode. Did they have perfumed hankies in those days? It doesn’t matter. Some little forget-me-not. A token, that’s what I’m trying to say. You needed some token to carry around with you in those days. Anyway, whatever, it was better in those days being a knight than a serf,” Herb said. “It’s always better,” Laura said. “The serfs didn’t have it so good in those days,” Terri
said. “The serfs have never had it good,” Herb said. “But I guess even the knights were vessels to someone. Isn’t that the way it worked in those days? But then everyone is always a vessel to someone else. Isn’t that right? Terri? But what I liked about knights, besides their ladies, was that they had that suit of armor, you know, and they couldn’t get hurt very easy. No cars in those days, man. No drunk teenagers to run over you.” “Vassals,” I said. “What?” Herb said. “Vassals,” I said.