Like the Alice Munro stories, this is another book I've read I don't know how many times, but one Flaky Genius and I are reading as part of her master's classes. Carver is always unsettling, always interesting. A bit of a downer to read, though, Carver's stories are almost across the board about broken, damaged people who are failing or about to fail in their lives. Rarely leavened with humor (such as Bukowski's stories, which at least break up the monotony of damaged people fucking up with a wicked sense of humor), Carver's work requires an ability to stare at grim life and to try to gather the secret meanings of events and words.
How do you translate into language a world where language itself seems insufficient to bridge the gap between the characters? That's the challenge. Carver's stories are puzzles without single or fully satisfactory answers. What may be a clue may also just be a misinterpretation.