Cathedral (short story)

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"Cathedral" is a short story written by American writer and poet Raymond Carver. It was the first story written after finishing What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.[1] It is the title story of a collection published in 1983: Cathedral.


The short story "Cathedral" was included in the 1982 edition of Best American Short Stories. It is the final story in Carver's collection Cathedral (1983). "Cathedral" is generally considered to be one of Carver's finest works, displaying both his expertise in crafting a minimalist story and also writing about a catharsis with such simple storylines.[2] The author commented in an interview:[1]

The story "Cathedral" seemed to me completely different from everything I'd written before. I was in a period of generosity. The character there is full of prejudices against blind people. He changes; he grows. The sighted man changes. He puts himself in the blind man's place. The story affirms something.

Bruce Allen of The Christian Science Monitor considered "Cathedral" to be "among the year's finest fiction," and he wrote, "The story is about learning how to imagine, and feel - and it's the best example so far of the way Raymond Carver's accomplished miniaturist art is stretching itself, exploring new territories."[3] Samuel Coale of The Providence Journal praised the way an "unpoetic soul" is able to describe the cathedral to a blind man: "Even in such nihilistic landscapes, epiphanies are still possible, and Carver makes us feel them with a quiet, smouldering joy that only such accurate and unblurred landscapes in fiction can produce."[4]


  1. ^ a b Stull, William L. "Prose as Architecture: Two Interviews with Raymond Carver".
  2. ^ A Reader's Companion to the Short Story in English. Routledge, 2013. ISBN 9781135976224. Page 102.
  3. ^ Allen, Bruce (3 December 1983). "MacArthur Award winners produce two of season's best; Cathedral, by Raymond Carver. New York: Alfred A. Knopf Inc. 228 pp. $13.95 - The Cannibal Galaxy, by Cynthia Ozick. New York: Alfred A. Knopf Inc. 162 pp. $11.95". The Christian Science Monitor.
  4. ^ Coale, Samuel (8 January 1984). "Books Joyless lives hide surprise". The Providence Journal.