John Dugdale

Rough Cuts

Beginners

By

Jonathan Cape 212pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

Anyone familiar with Raymond Carver’s reputation for pared-down fiction will find the first paragraph of this collection’s first story disconcerting. ‘Why Don’t You Dance?’ begins with a twenty-six-line slab of prose that occupies most of a page, listing the furniture and other items ‘the boy’ and ‘the girl’ hope to sell in a yard sale. Far from being minimalist, it could be, suitably adjusted, a typically wordy, cluttered chapter opening by a nineteenth-century maximalist such as Balzac.

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