Thursday, 16 October 2008

Veggie Books: Fat

I'm talking a Raymond Carver short story, and a baked potato with sour cream.

Fat summons up the gradual passing of time, and the subtle changes that happen within us, within around 1,000 words. Most 100,000 word epics struggle with that.

The narrator tells a friend about her day at work last Wednesday. She's a waitress, and on the day in question the most obese man she has ever seen enters her cafe. He starts off ordering the soup, the salad, extra bread, pork chops, and the aforementioned baked potato. He is embarrassed about the amount he eats, but the waitress is friendly to him and he relaxes. The kitchen staff are rude about him, and also her other half who is the chef, and she defends him.

It's not as if a lot happens:nothing that can really be described as a plot, anyway. But it's mesmerising. Here's the final paragraphs:

It is August.

My life is going to change. I feel it.


David Isaak said...

Carver could do plot, too, though. Like that wrenching birthday-cake story.

Lot's of baked goods. No veggies, though.

David Isaak said...

Strike one of those "thoughs" for me, woncha?

Neil said...

I think I've mentioned this before, but my favourite Carver story, and possibly my favourite story full stop, is the one about the slugs. Don't think there was any lettuce in it though.

Aliya Whiteley said...

Great stories.

But I think we can all agree that there weren't quite enough vegetables in many of them.