In this rewarding study of one of the most important writers of recent decades, Randolph Paul Runyon reveals an ambitious metafiction beneath the terse style of Carver's works and places Carver squarely in the context of the minimalist debate. Runyon's reading ably demonstrates that Carver's stories, especially as they appear in his three major collections, Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, and Cathedral, and the seven new stories in Where I'm Calling From, are strikingly intricate and cast their subtlest spells by indirection. He reveals the intricate metaphorical connections, the structural overlaps, that are overlooked in past Carver criticism. Runyon also finds purposeful arrangement in Carver's short story collections, inviting the reader to explore another text, one written in the interstices between the stories. Each story echoes elements from its immediate predecessor, just as the subconscious, according to Freud, weaves the events of the immediately preceding day into a dream. Freud's relevance extends well to the troubling tension between fathers and sons in Carver's work and to a recurring maternal Medusa. In his assessment of Carver's collections, Runyon also considers both the influence of the Bible and events in Carver's life.