Viewfinder (short story)

Viewfinder (short story)

Viewfinder by Raymond Carver is one of the short stories in the "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" compilation. It is told in the first person perspective of a man who is visited by an elderly man with hook hands. The man comes to his house to try and sell him a picture of the narrator's house. The narrator is obsessed with the fact that the elderly man has hook hands and invites him into his house to see how he will hold a cup of coffee with his hook hands. The narrator decides to have the hookhanded man take more pictures in his house. The story ends with the nararator climbing onto the roof so that his picture could be taken as he throws a rock off the roof.

Indicative of Carver's often dissociative and almost inevitably working class themes, and very much a product of this second collection's overt move toward an extremely spare style; it places its glance squarely on the connection between physical and social deformity, the hook arms an unsubtle shadow of the narrator's violent anti-social behavior.

Later selections show a writer more gentle and noticeably more "mature," but this visceral example does have a distinct pull that may be attractive to fans of more active and surreal fiction.


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