Among the many that I've read, Raymond Carver's "Are These Actual Miles," ranks among the top. The story is especially relevant in today's troubled times, and it's told in language that's accessible, the unimbellished truth about the imperfect lives of imperfect people. Ray's not trying to impress his prep school peers with fancy vocabulary nor please his grandparents. The baggage and bias that many writers carry has been carved away, leaving simple, poetic, polished prose.
The story is about two people--lovers, partners, whatever--in dire financial straits, who have run out of luck and time. They have to face raw reality and take immediate action, doing things they don't talk about in the classroom or polite society. Then they must face each other. Love each other.
In the end, it's about love and acceptance, for better or worse.
Causes Monty Heying Supports