There are rare instances, no matter how experienced we might feel, when we encounter a short story collection of consistently strong, beautiful, breathtakingly tragic variations on a theme as captured by Martin here.
In this dispatch from the country’s uppermost western edge, we hear from what some might call Raymond Carver’s people—also known as the 99%. They are short of cash, of opportunities, and of hope for anything better.
They lived on opposite sides of the planet, at roughly the same time, and never met. In their lifetimes (one is now dead) each became an acknowledged and influential master in his chosen form of storytelling, and even though their media, social contexts and biographies were worlds apart, the early work of each artist bears striking similarities: they shared a melancholy, darkly humorous, and peculiarly bleak vision of character, story, and life.