‘The Father’ by Raymond Carver

The Father by Raymond Carver, 1961

The magic trick:

Lightning-flash illumination

This is a great example of the lightning quick short story from Carver. In fact, lightning is an (accidentally) apt word choice because this story is similar to a room briefly illuminated by a flash of lightning before going dark again.

We get a little sliver of this family’s life. It’s up to us to extrapolate backward and forward through the darkness to figure out what it means.

And that’s quite a trick on Carver’s part.

The selection:

“Who does the baby look like?”

“He doesn’t look like anybody,” Phyllis said. And they moved even closer.

I know! I know!” Carol said. “He looks like Daddy!” Then they looked closer at the baby.

“But does Daddy look like?” Phyllis asked.


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