Books: More Art from Less Matter

CATHEDRAL by Raymond Carver; Knopf; 228 pages; $13.95

For years now, the demographics of the American short story have been moving upscale. The line of Hemingway drifters and Flannery O'Connor grotesques seems to be dying out. Characters rarely worry any more about finding God or their next meal. They are likely instead to be well educated, sensitive to a fault, politically liberal, and affluent enough to feel pleasurable guilt in their possessions. They tend, in short, to resemble the stereotypical reader of The New Yorker, which is where the luckiest of these fictional people...

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