Short Story #270: So Much Water So Close To Home by Raymond Carver

Title:  So Much Water So Close To Home

Author:  Raymond Carver


Raymond Carver.  Source:
Claire watches her husband eat and he asks what she is staring at.  Before the conversation can go anywhere, the telephone rings and he says not to answer it.  She picks it up and listens and hangs up afterward.  He voices his anger at her answering the call and the call itself.  He mentions that it was a group decision and he don't want people passing judgment.  Claire raises a challenge to this and all he can say is that "she was dead" and he was sorry.  Frustrated, he leaves the table and goes to the newspaper, while she holds back her own frustration but accidentally knocks the dishes to the floor.  He doesn't respond to this.  She goes onto explain that her husband and his friends enjoy doing things together.  The previous weekend they went on a fishing trip up a local river.  They had to park their cars and hike to the river and brought camping equipment with them.  They found a dead girl with no clothes near the river.  In figuring out what to do, they event decides that the girl was dead and they didn't need to return immediately.  They set up camp and realized that the girl might drift away, so they went to the river again and tied her to keep her from drifting.  The next day, they continued to do things around camp and into that night as well.  The next morning, they finished up and headed back.  They soon found a telephone and called the police about it.  When he came home that night, she was already asleep.  However, he makes advances on her and she gives into having sex.  The next morning, the phone begins to ring with calls about the event.  It's at this point that Claire learns about what happens.  She picks up the dishes and suggests they go for a drive.  As they drive, she notices all the places to fish that are close to home and she asks why they had to go so far away to fish.  They get some beer and talk some more.  Claire then talks about brothers who killed a girl when she was growing up.  Her husband tells her not to get her riled up.  The next morning, she lies in bed while he takes their child to school and gets ready fro work.  She pretends to keep sleeping.  She gets up eventually and while reading the newspaper, decides to get her hair done and while at the hair-dressers, announces that she will go to the funeral.  She spends that night on the couch.  The next morning they have breakfast.  She writes a note for her son for when he comes home.  She leaves and along the way finds herself being embarrassed by a guy in a pick-up truck.  Eventually, he passes her and she pulls over to the road.  He comes back to see her and she locks up her car.  She refuses to engage with him.  The story jumps to the funeral.  While there, Claire hears that the murderer has supposed been caught.  Claire's head is also in a haze and she says that there could always be more killers out there.  When she comes home, her husband tells her Dean is outside and begins to make a motion to have sex with her and she acquiesces. 


There's such a bleakness to this story.  Not only between Claire and Stuart but just the world that this story inhabits.  There's much that is left unsaid and we are left to wonder about, like what exactly happens to Claire with the man in the pick-up truck and how does that manifest or connect with the final scene when Claire gives in.  Of course, all of that pulls back to the initial event of the men camping and enjoying a weekend of fishing and camping while a young female corpse sits nearby.  It's an uncomfortable story to say the least.  

Short Story #270 out of 365
Rating: 3 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read:  8/1/2014
Source:  The short story can be found at this website.  

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.

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