Rachel Reviews: ‘What We Talk About When We Talk About Love’ by Raymond Carver

This week, in my American Literature tutorial, we looked at a selection of short stories by Raymond Carver.

Although I enjoyed all of the stories, my favourite was ‘What We Talk About When We Talk About Love’.


Quick Synopsis:

The story centres on two couples. The couples start drinking gin and begin reflecting on their past relationships, and discussing their idea’s about love.




Below is an Amazon link, where you can purchase a copy of this story:




My Thoughts:

I found this story to have a lot of relevant idea’s about love, which most people can relate to. I think love is a fascinating topic to discuss. Many of us will (hopefully) experience romantic love in our lives, and it is important that we think about what constitutes as good love.


Tessie’s past relationship to Ed was a very interesting take on love. Tessie repeatedly say’s that he loved her, despite the bruises and death threats.

Their relationship made me wonder ‘Is extreme love good?’.

The answer, in my opinon, is no. If you love someone too much, or invest too much of yourself into another person, you cease to live concretely.

You become reliant on this other individual; Ed could not live without Tessie, therefore, he decided to end his own life.


Who wants this type of love?


Mel made a very important point; he said that he loved his first wife with his whole heart, but now he hates her guts. He wonders what happened to that love? So do I.

The story reaffirmed to me that love is not a fixed state. You can fall in and out of love many times throughout your life. And as Mel said, ‘isn’t that the saving grace’, that you can go on to love again after heartache.


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