For anybody who hasn’t read it, “Cathedral” (1982) is probably Raymond Carver’s most famous short story, and provides an endearing picture of what could be called a modern-day, suburban visitation from the upside-down world of grace. It begins, though, through the narrator’s lovable perspective, with the blatant understandability of such a thing to feel, well, “upside-down,” alien, creepy.

An unnamed narrator and his wife are expecting a visitor from out of town, a friend of the wife’s. Robert, the visitor, a blind, recent widower, has had a history of correspondence with the narrator’s wife, who had worked as Robert’s…

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