Raymond Carver's people have no faces. They're the ciphers of this world: dirt farmers, salesmen, short-order cooks, assembly-line workers, unemployed, skill-less, bankrupt. They come in matched pairs: small men and little women who don't love each other much, whose children just "happened." Carver's way of telling their stories, though, is a stylization of their own lack of imagination. The specific details of the tawdry chain-store accoutrements of their existence hardly ever break their surface. Several of these 22 short short stories are similar in tone to Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, catching that same drift of subterranean violence which, even when it explodes, almost as quickly tutus into confusion. Others deal with the same kind of meaningless adultery. A deftly executed first collection by a young West Coast writer and a genuine tribute to that other citizen--the semi-literate wash-out, the hod-carrier, the Levittown homeowner--who lives a million light-years away from the American Dream.