Posted in Short Stories

Raymond Carver: Are These Actual Miles?

Deal Me In 2019 – Week 4

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He remembers waking up the morning after they bought the car, seeing it, there in the drive, in the sun, gleaming.

This is the second week in a row in which the story I’ve read deals with people in financial trouble – interesting coincidence.

Raymond Carver’s story “Are These Actual Miles?” contains characters and situations that are more realistic than last week’s “The Drowned Life” by Jeffrey Ford but I think I like Ford’s story better.

“Are These Actual Miles?” has a husband sending his wife out to sell their car. Unfortunately, while specific details are not supplied, the story implies that the wife is selling more than just the car.

oxford short stories

This is the first story by Carver that I’ve read. His writing style is short and to the point similar to Ernest Hemingway; however, this story could be set in any old American suburb which is different from many of the exotic settings in Hemingway’s stories.

Carver lets the reader guess as to whether the husband actually knows everything that the wife could be doing in selling the car. Both the anger and the helplessness of the husband is palpable as the story comes to an end hinting that the husband probably knows more than Carver lets on.

This story is included in The Oxford Book of American Short Stories edited by Joyce Carol Oates. I read it when I selected the Five of Clubs for Week 4 of my Deal Me In 2019 short story project. My Deal Me In list can be found here. Deal Me In is sponsored by Jay at Bibliophilopolis.