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1. Raymond Carver: Collected Stories
2. What We Talk About When We Talk
3. Cathedral
4. Where I'm Calling From: Selected
5. Short Cuts: Selected Stories
6. Raymond Carver: A Writer's Life
7. All of Us: The Collected Poems
8. Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?:
9. Cathedral
10. Call If You Need Me: The Uncollected
11. Where Water Comes Together with
12. Elephant and Other Stories
13. Carver Country: The World of Raymond
14. Fires: Essays, Poems, Stories
15. What It Used to Be Like: A Portrait
16. Remembering Ray: A Composite Biography
17. Call If You Need Me
18. A New Path to the Waterfall
19. Conversations with Raymond Carver
20. The Carver Chronotope: Contextualizing

1. Raymond Carver: Collected Stories (Library of America)
by Raymond Carver
Hardcover: 960 Pages (2009-08-20)
list price: US$40.00 -- used & new: US$20.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1598530461
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Raymond Carver's spare dramas of loneliness, despair, and troubled relationships breathed new life into the American short story of the 1970s and '80s. In collections such as Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? and What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, Carver wrote with unflinching exactness about men and women enduring lives on the knife-edge of poverty and other deprivations. Beneath his pared-down surfaces run disturbing, violent undercurrents. Suggestive rather than explicit, and seeming all the more powerful for what is left unsaid, Carver's stories were held up as exemplars of a new school in American fiction known as minimalism or "dirty realism," a movement whose wide influence continues to this day. Carver's stories were brilliant in their detachment and use of the oblique, ambiguous gesture, yet there were signs of a different sort of sensibility at work. In books such as Cathedral and the later tales included in the collected stories volume Where I'm Calling From, Carver revealed himself to be a more expansive writer than in the earlier published books, displaying Chekhovian sympathies toward his characters and relying less on elliptical effects.

In gathering all of Carver's stories, including early sketches and posthumously discovered works, The Library of America's Collected Stories provides a comprehensive overview of Carver's career as we have come to know it: the promise of Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? and the breakthrough of What We Talk About, on through the departures taken in Cathedral and the pathos of the late stories. But it also prompts a fresh consideration of Carver by presenting Beginners, an edition of the manuscript of What We Talk About When We Talk About Love that Carver submitted to Gordon Lish, his editor and a crucial influence on his development. Lish's editing was so extensive that at one point Carver wrote him an anguished letter asking him not to publish the book; now, for the first time, readers can read both the manuscript and published versions of the collection that established Carver as a major American writer. Offering a fascinating window into the complex, fraught relation between writer and editor, Beginners expands our sense of Carver and is essential reading for anyone who cares about his achievement. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars Praise for Raymond Carver
This book is a treasure for Carver's lovers. I have most of his books , but it is still a different sensation to read his stories in chronological order. Thetimeline at the end of the collection helps to undrestand better the circumstances of writing each work. For those who dont know Carver yet - they will have the pleasure of discovering a great writer, and should next look for his poems, that are as heart-breaking and inspiring as his prose.

4-0 out of 5 stars Everyone Should Read Carver Heavily
I picked up this book because one of Carver's books, What We talk About When We Talk About Love, was #1 on Esquire magazine's list of 75 Books Every Man Should Read. I bought this one instead because it had more stories for my money, was a hard cover edition, and I knew Carver was an author I should know about, but didn't. After reading this book, I actually think Carver's book Cathedral is his best.

This collection has 90 short stories, some of his non-fiction writing, and a great biographical timeline. I didn't always like his subject matter, but his writing is out-of-this-world good.

Carver was an American short story writer credited with revitalizing the short story form in the 80s. People labeled his writing as minimialism, or dirty realism. He won a lot of awards, but died when he was only 50 from liver cancer.

He struggled to make it at first, raising two kids with his first wife while he worked menial jobs. He managed to get a degree, but became a drunk and lost his wife in the process. He married another writer, Tess Gallagher, in a Reno, NV wedding chapel 2 months before he died.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Collection of Short Stories I Have Ever Read!
I wish I had read this book 40 years ago - it would have made me want to become a writer.If you have never read Raymond Carver, it is not too late!His stories are oblique, shocking, sudden, and tearful.He approaches his subjects from the side, so you don't see them full-face until you have finished, and they do not truly come into focus until an hour later, when their poignancy and humanity finally dawn on you.I LOVE THIS BOOK!It will be by my bedside for the rest of my life, and I will re-read these 90 stories forever!

4-0 out of 5 stars Suggestive and Explicit
The book's jacket states that Carver's stories are "suggestive rather than explicit" - I say they are both. The work is deliciously dark, as well as, uncomfortably close. I recently read Where I'm Calling From, another collection of his stories, and there is significant overlap. I suggest this one because it provides a broader range and simply more stories.

Are You a Doctor? explores both curiosity and hope but not in the expected manner. Pastoral and The Cabin are essentially the same story but altered slightly as Carver fine tuned the latter. Both examine the futility of attempting to repeat exact moments and feelings. Viewfinder evokes Cheever and showcases the ability of both of them to dance on the edge of madness within a sane backdrop. Tell the Women We're Going carries a hint of Stephen King - enough said.

The Pheasant is abrupt much like the accident it depicts. Preservation tells the story of one in a marriage holding it together until they no longer can. The Train, written for John Cheever, picks up on one of his own stories and extends both the mood and the mystery of the original. It is hard to describe any of Carver's work as bright and positive but Fever comes as close as any. It was among my favorites for its hope and human connection. Kindling also carries a feeling of redemption but Carver, bless him, leaves the conclusion to the reader. One that continues to sit with me is What Would You Like To See? - it is simple, compelling and worthy or a re-read or two but, then again, all of Carver's stories are.

5-0 out of 5 stars If you like great writing, here's a goldmine.
What can I say that hasn't already been said a thousand times about Carver? This book demonstrates over and over again that he was one of the greatest American writers who ever lived. ... Read more

2. What We Talk About When We Talk About Love: Stories
by Raymond Carver
Paperback: 176 Pages (1989-06-18)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$7.83
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679723056
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
In his second collection of stories, as in his first, Carver's characters are peripheral people--people without education, insight or prospects, people too unimaginative to even give up. Carver celebrates these men and women.Amazon.com Review
"What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" is not only the mostwell-known short story title of the latter part of the 20th century; it has come tostand for an entire aesthetic, the bare-bones prose style for which RaymondCarver became famous. Perhaps, it could be argued, too famous, atleast for his fiction's own good. Like those of Hemingway or any other writersimilarly loved, imitated, parodied, and reviled, these stories cansometimes produce the sense of reading pastiche. "A man without hands cameto the door to sell me a photograph of my house." "That morning she poursTeacher's over my belly and licks it off. That afternoon she tries to jumpout the window." "My friend Mel McGinnis was talking. Mel is acardiologist, and sometimes that gives him the right." What other writerever produced first sentences like these? They are like doors intoCarverworld, where everyone speaks in simple declarative phrases, no oneever stops at one beer, and failure or violence are the true outcomes ofthe American dream.

Yet these stories bear careful re-reading, like any truly important andenduring work. For one thing, Carver is one of the few writers who can makedesperation--cutting your ex-wife's telephone cord in the middle of aconversation, standing on your own roof chunking rocks while a man with nohands takes your picture--deeply funny. Then there is the sheercraft that went into their creation. Despite their seeming simplicity, histales are as artfully constructed as poems--and like poems, the best ofthem can make your breath catch in your throat. In the title piece, forinstance, after the gin has been drunk, after the stories have been told,after the tensions in the room have come to the surface and subsided again,there comes a moment of strange lightness and peace: "I could hear my heartbeating. I could hear everyone's heart. I could hear the human noise we satthere making, not one of us moving, not even when the room went dark."

Much of what happens in What We Talk About When We Talk AboutLove (1981) happens offstage, and we're left with tragedy'sprops: booze, instant coffee, furniture from a failed marriage, cigarettessmoked in the middle of the night. This is not merely a matter oftechnique. Carver leaves out a great deal, but that's only a measure of hischaracters' vulnerability, the nerve endings his stories lay bare. To sayanything more, one feels, would simply hurt too much. --Mary Park ... Read more

Customer Reviews (41)

3-0 out of 5 stars Just ok...
The book was delivered in a timely manner and in good condition. As for the stories, I have not enjoyed them as much as I thought.

5-0 out of 5 stars Quietly Amazing
If you're the type of person that needs action, suspense and a constantly moving story line, these stories aren't for you.But if you like to read stories that mimic life, have real conversations and aren't pure fantasy, than this is the book for you.Carver writes in a purely real way.His conversations are just as mundane as the one you had this morning.It's not rehearsed and rewritten 50 times like Hollywood.People say the wrong things and do what they shouldn't have done, and have to take the blame for their mistakes.There are some stories that are out there, but they still seem real.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brief Encounters
Carver was a master of the really short short story, little glimpses of life that pass you by with the merest brush on the shoulder, leaving you with a shiver, a tear, or occasionally a smile. Few of the seventeen stories in this magnificent collection have a normal beginning or end; rather they are moments when a life, a relationship, comes briefly into focus, sometimes around a trivial event that nonetheless illuminates everything before and after it. When things happen, they are for the most part ordinary things: a young couple visit a yard sale; another pair get drunk and fight; friends arrange to go hunting or fishing; a young father cancels such a hunting trip to be with his wife and ailing daughter. But even the most ordinary experiences are significant. Although the sequence in the book is skillfully arranged to form an arc of cumulative intensity, it comes as a shock when one of the stories ends in brutal violence.

Not that Carver is a stranger to sadness or tragedy. Even the happiest stories in this collection end at best with a rueful smile; two of them, for example, close with a husband and wife embracing, impelled by a sudden awareness of the fragility of life around them, finding comfort in sorrow. Carver is a poet of the dispossessed; the people here are widowers, travelers, divorcés, couples in failing marriages, couples trying to scrape together a shaky start. Yet such is the depth of his understanding, even when writing of pain, that the collection as a whole brings warmth rather than despair; I found myself reading voraciously, wanting to know more of the fellow human beings who share Carver's world.

The title story is unusual in having more upscale characters -- a cardiologist, his friend, and their respective wives. It is also the most complex as it talks about different kinds of love, contrasting the past and present experiences of those present (all survivors from former marriages), gradually emphasizing love's power to destroy as well as to heal. This is seen also in "A Serious Talk," one of my favorite stories, in which Carver uncannily captures the well-meaning awkwardness of a man visiting his ex-wife and children at Christmas in his former home; although it appears it was she who betrayed the marriage, we have to watch helplessly as he puts himself in the wrong by resorting to frustrated violence. My other favorite is "After the Denim." An older couple find that their usual seats at their weekly bingo game have been taken by a pair of youngsters, whose cheerfully casual behavior puts the older man off his game; only when they return home do we learn the real reason for his displeasure -- a reason both sad and unbearably beautiful. But one could say that about this entire collection.

[This volume, incidentally, is the most notorious example of the work of Carver's editor, Gordon Lish, who cut Carver's manuscripts mercilessly, often to about half their original length, creating the minimalist style for which Carver became famous, but also removing much of his humanity. Several of the originals are now available in RAYMOND CARVER: COLLECTED STORIES, and Carol Skelnicka discusses the relationship at length in her recent biography RAYMOND CARVER: A WRITER'S LIFE. There is also a superb review of the Skelnicka in the New York Times, 11/19/2009 -- almost a mini-biography -- by Stephen King, who speaks with authority on Carver both as a writer and a fellow recovering alcoholic.]

5-0 out of 5 stars Haiku prose
Again, I might well be arriving late to the party, and maybe the food might all be gone, but I still feel it worth attending and seeing if I can't find something.
I found Carver via Murakami's 'Birthday Stories', where, having been impressed by 'The Bath', I decided to dig further and seek other works. Now, having read 'What we talk about...' I can only say three things;
i) Brilliant! Carver is a literary genius who occupies rare ground,
ii) Original. He re-wrote the short-story, he invented, re-invented the short-story,
iii) More! I want more! I want to read every word he wrote, I am thirsty for his world vision.
Carver's style, his vision, his world-view optimises what makes American literature great, and what is great American literature. After reading this I was reminded just how good modern American literature really is - there is not a country on this planet who has a definite modern style as beautiful, clean and expressive as America. People often say that Jazz is the only true American Art, but I disagree! To that I would also add the short-story! America has a rich and unchallenged history in the short story and it must surely be at least partly attributable to the likes of Raymond Carver.

Many readers have commented that 'nothing happens'... NOTHING HAPPENS? Things happen, lots happens, it's just, like life, things happen quickly - who could forget the three page masterpiece 'Popular Mechanics'? Where Carver's real genius lies is that he really is a master storyteller, that is to say he paints a sparse picture and challenges the reader to fill in the blanks, to use THEIR imagination to join the dots. He is not a spoon-feeder, rather he is like a Haiku poet, he strips everything down to the bare minimum and what is not said, but what is inferred is the point, that is what is most important. And that is his real strength and the expression of his pure genius. Anyone can babble on and on and on for pages, or tell as story like a drunk in a bar, very few can whittle an entire tree down to one single clothes-peg, Carver can, and did.

5-0 out of 5 stars Master of the Short
Raymond Carver is a master of the short story, and this book features a lot of his early raw talent. Make sure you also read "Short Cuts," which has some of the same stories in it, but it has the unedited versions. "What We Talk About..." features work when Ray was still working with his often too critical editor. ... Read more

3. Cathedral
by Raymond Carver
Paperback: 240 Pages (1989-06-18)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$6.28
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679723692
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
"A dozen stories that overflow with the danger, excitement, mystery and possibility of life...Carver is a writer of astonishing compassion and honesty...his eye set only on describing and revealing the world as he sees it. His eye is so clear, it almost breaks your heart."--Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World

"Cathedral contains astonishing achievements, which bespeaks a writer expanding his range of intentions."--The Boston Globe

"A few of Mr. Carver's stories can already be counted among the masterpieces of American fiction...Cathedral shows a gifted writer struggling for a larger scope of reference, a finer touch of nuance." --Irving Howe, front page, The New York Times Book Review

"Clear, hard language so right that we shiver at the knowledge we gain from it." --Thomas Williams, Chicago Tribune Book World

"Carver is more than a realist; there is, in some of his stories, a strangeness, the husk of a myth." --Los Angeles Times

Stories included:
"Chef's House"
"The Compartment"
"A Small, Good Thing"
"Where I'm Calling From"
"The Train"
"The Bridle"
"Cathedral"Amazon.com Review
It was morning in America when Raymond Carver's Cathedral cameout in 1983, but the characters in this dry collection of short stories fromthe forgotten corners of land of opportunity didn't receive much sunlight.Nothing much happens to the subjects of Carver's fiction, which is preciselywhy they are so harrowing: nothingness is a daunting presence to overcome.And rarely do they prevail, but the loneliness and quiet struggle thecharacters endure provide fertile ground for literary triumph, particularlyin the hands of Carver, who was perhaps in his best form with this effort. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (49)

5-0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece
A masterfully woven collection of stories by the great minimalist Raymond Carver. Several stories in this collection, namely `A Small Good Thing,' `Feathers,' and `Cathedral' are American classics. Carver employed Hemingway's technique and gave it new life with his sensitive attunement to the struggles and pain of ordinary people. Although many disparage the structure of the epiphany operative within these stories, I find there subtle and revelatory unfolding to be understated and yet sublime. Carver's terse realism is a welcome contrast to the hysterical realism of contemporary prose. A must read for any aspiring short fiction writer.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good reading
This book was highly recommended by an old friend, so I purchased it and waited anxiously for its arrival.I enjoyed reading it, but honestly was not blown away at all, however, I would still recommend it to others.

2-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read
This collection is a must read for those who are writers and readers of literary fiction. Carver is one of America's most revered short story writers and this collection is a monument of his achievements as a writer.

These stories are fleshed out, evocative tales that prove Carver can construct more much more than an ambiguous, sparse micro fiction. Reading "The Bath" and "A Small Good Thing" are testaments that early Carver was being held back and molded into a minimalist; in this collection he finally spread his wings. "Feathers" is a particular favorite of mine as it delves into Carver's ability to craft a humorous tale and hold his reader's attention in what could have been a plotless, forgettable piece. His dialogue is spare, very Hemingwayesque in fact, and reads naturally.

However, this collection is a mixed bag. While many revere Carver as one of our greatest, I suggest perhaps he is a minor writer who had the potential to become great (this collection lends to this theory). These stories lack in that they are unable to make the reader care for the characters off the page (also, it is impossible to IMAGINE these characters off the page). The characters, like the stories, are interesting, but ultimately lack any staying power.

Carver lacks sentence variety and his stories mostly read with little or no semblance of a plot. Crisp sentences are fine, but they should be interspered with a variety of sentences. Carver seems to be oblivous of colons and semi-colons. Had he realized not every sentence need to be opened with "he" or "she", Carver's prose would read with more beauty. Carver is a good writer, no doubt, but he is not a sentence level writer.

Had Carver lived, I have no doubt he would have lived up to the hype. I suggest this collection and his others as they are worth the time. However, if I may, read Flannery O'Connor and Andre Dubus as their themes of violence, God, family, and relationships swiftly delve into the human experience. These two writers should be read, discussed, copied, and reread.

4-0 out of 5 stars Slices of Down-and-Out Lives
It took me a while to get the rhythms of Carver's work, but midway through this short story collection, I was hooked.He's a minimalist in many ways, as he eschews fancy words (such as "eschew"), a lot of action, and twists at the end of his stories.Yet, he brings great depth and complexity.His dialogue is pitch-perfect.The people speak as naturally as if they were sitting at the diner stool or (more likely) bar stool right next to you.

Some of the stories are about people who really have reached a dead end: a Minnesota farmer who's lost his farm, a drunk who's never going to get over the hump to sobriety.Other stories are about people who have limited lives, but who are gradually finding their way or have made peace with what the world will give them: ususally divorced people struggling to make new relationships work better than their first.These stories have some level of hope, although far more muted than an epiphany and a sunburst of optimism that many other writers would produce.A few stories have outright optimism ("Cathedral" -- a blind man showing another man how to "see" the world in new ways), and recovery ("A Small, Good Thing" -- parents recovering after the death of their child).

It's a lovely mix, in which each story is grounded in the quotidian existence of people who are living quiet suburban lives or who are on the margins of middle class stability.I kept asking myself if I'd have more energy and drive to change my life than the people he describes.Probably not; it's just what life does to all of us.And that's okay.

5-0 out of 5 stars not an academic or a word critic , just a reader
for the title story and "a small , good , thing" alone ,this set is definitely worth thumbing through . i'd read a carver story in a short story collection in jr. college before being bounced out (it's hard to study and focus on certain subjects) for failing to apply myself sufficiently . that story prompted me to look at this book in a library . i think you'll like his style . being a braniac is not a pre-requisite . ... Read more

4. Where I'm Calling From: Selected Stories
by Raymond Carver
Paperback: 526 Pages (1989-06-18)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$8.32
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679722319
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
A major collection of Carver's short stories, including seven new stories written shortly before the author's death in 1988.Amazon.com Review
The last story collection published during Carver's life (hedied in 1988) contains most of his greatest hits from his earlierbooks, as well as seven stories that hadn't been collected up to thatpoint.The breadth of the collection makes these 37 stories anextremely complete map of Carver territory, of a particular area ofAmerica and of the specific texture of the people Carver writes about-- their difficult attempts at survival in a world where happinessdoes not arrive wrapped up in neat packages but comes in far morepeculiar parcels, if it comes at all. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (69)

5-0 out of 5 stars Very nice book
Awesome book. Actually, I'm an international student.
The expressions in this book are awesome for English learners.
They are easy to understand and very helpful to use in general conversation.
I really want to recommed to English learners.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Complexity of Every Day Lives
I have read a couple of Carver's stories through the years but this is my first deep dive. I was not disappointed, in fact, I even reread a few right away because for a minimalist there is so much depth to his stories. Bicycles, Muscles, Cigarettes reminded me of the play Carnage of the Gods which I recently saw on Broadway. Sets of parents that attempt to untangle conflicts amongst their children often only make matters worse. They're Not Your Husband deals with self improvement except the wrong character is the focus. Fat is one of the best short stories I have read - it played vividly in my head.

Why, Honey? is downright creepy and one that can be read several times with new bits revealed each time. Are These Actual Miles? conjures up Yates' Revolutionary Road and Cheever's work which is all so fantastic. The couple's uncoupling due to financial reasons is stark and their actions surprising. Gazebo explores infidelity and the loss of trust which is akin to a death. One More Thing is serious but equally funny as one character needs to have the last word. Why Don't You Dance? is another heartbreaker within a benign setting. And the male character in A Serious Talk needs some serious help.

If forced to identify a favorite among the thirty-seven I would say Boxes. It reminded me of the years my mother lived on her own after my father's death. I cannot articulate the worry I felt for her which could manifest itself physically. She, of course, would dismiss me and smile saying all was well. So needless to say I connected with the son in this story. Where I'm Calling From is a great collection but I definitely enjoyed the stories from Carver's earlier years more than his later work.

4-0 out of 5 stars And, of course, the booze...

I bought this book by Raymond Carver. I never read him before and thought it was about time. He is so highly regarded it was absurd that I hadn't read him before. But I was never a big fan of short stories. I was reading a lot of them lately, though. And Raymond Carver was supposed to be a master of the modern American short story. So.

So I read two or three of these stories. Then two or three more. They are easy to read. They are all tales of quiet desperation. They're told in spare and simple prose. Meat and potatoes prose. Couples in the suburbs facing adultery, unemployment, boredom, failure, divorce, death...and alcoholism. That's what these stories are about. There's a lot of drinking going on in these stories. All of Carver's characters seem to be alcoholics. Everyone is smoking a cigarette. It's the most unhealthy bunch of people you can ever imagine.

I got to wondering, Has the age of the hard-drinking, chain-smoking, sensitive but macho author finally passed into literary history for good? Was Carver the last of this dysfunctional, distinctly male breed of paleosaur? A neo-Hemingway, that's what Carver seemed to me as I read deeper and deeper into this collection. He's Hemingway but in the suburbs and without the adventure. Just the bills, the boredom, and, of course, the booze. Lots and lots of booze.

Good grief, what will writers write about now? I mean, now that they've cleaned up their acts? Now that they don't smoke, eat organic, and don't hesitate to head for the rehab at the first sign of addiction, or their first DWI? Now that "real" men are getting harder and harder to find, what's in store for us readers? Lots of stories about guys taking yoga, fussing over their weight, and going green?

I shudder to think about it. But I think about it anyway.

And then there's something about the way that Carver writes. His style, you could call it. Carver has invented a kind of story-writing machine. That's what his style is like. He writes very much the same sort of story over and over. He seems to do it effortlessly. It's as if the stories are virtually writing themselves, through the style. The style is a machine for duplicating with variations this one sort of story.

I'm not saying these stories aren't good stories. They are. They are very good. The epitome of the "revelation of small moments." That's what these stories are. Or something like that. But after a while, you feel as if you are reading the same story about the same characters, in a slightly different set of circumstances.

A friend of mine asked me, What are you reading?

I said, Raymond Carver. Have you ever read him?

He said, Yes.

How did you like him? I asked.

I liked him well enough, my friend said. I don't get the hoopla, though.

That's just it, I said. That's exactly the word. Hoopla. I don't quite get the hoopla either. I mean, he's got something to say. His stories are pretty powerful. At least some of them are. But the hoopla. I just don't see it.

And that was that. There didn't seem to be much more to say about Raymond Carver or his short stories. I didn't think I'd be reading any more of his books after this one. I didn't think I needed to. I got him. I got him but I didn't get the hoopla. That about sums it all up, I thought.

2-0 out of 5 stars Unpolished stories from the drawer
I hate to give Carver a bad review, especially because I loved the stories in "What we talk about when we talk about love", but every story I read in this volume, and I admit I have not read them all, was a huge let down.They dont pick up and end threadless, leaving me with a big HUH?You might say, I am just too ignorant, but I love short stories, and dont want to give this book a thumbs down, but here it is. No good. It seems the publishers just put together anything by Carver without really checking for quality again, like selling Picasso's doodles for a million bucks. We dont always create masterpieces, and "Where I'm calling from" disappoints.

5-0 out of 5 stars Where are the Raymond Carver's of Today?
These stories are so perfect.They are concise, compelling and convey their meaning by showing rather than telling.I wish there was someone who wrote like this today, although it isn't really necessary, his voice is still relevant.

Julie Blattenbauer
Seattle ... Read more

5. Short Cuts: Selected Stories
by Raymond Carver
Paperback: 157 Pages (1993-09-14)
list price: US$13.00 -- used & new: US$5.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679748644
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
A movie tie-in edition to the brilliant new film by Robert Altman, based on these nine stories by Carver, "one of the great short story writers of our time--of any time" (Philadelphia Inquirer). ... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

4-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed every page
This small book (157 pages) is a collection of Raymond Carver's short stories. The book has been made into a movie of the same title. There are in all nine stories. The last `Lemonade' as a feels more like a prosem.
I had not read any of Carver's books and this book came as a wonderful surprise. While I did not like some of the stories, I loved the way he had written (Carver passed away in 1988) all of them. He has a wonderful ability to paint the deepest agonies of human heart. And he can make you dislike the characters as easily as he can make you empathize with them.
The story `Will you Be Quiet Please?' is also the title of another of his book. It revolves around a man's anguish who finds his wife had sex with his friend but she is refusing to tell him the details of the act. Unable to know what exactly she did and why she did it, the man spends the whole night drinking outside the house. With every paragraph you can feel the escalating pain of the man.
In `They're Not Your Husband' a man forces his wife to lose weight because he overhears a comment made by two men on oversize rear. But he becomes intrigued that after she lost weight nobody is taking any notice of her figure.
One of the stories I liked was `Vitamins', about how a man, on the verge of committing adultery with a wife's colleague develops a sudden revulsion to her by the realization of her true nature. A good ending.
`So Much Water So Close To Home' is about a woman obsessed with a girl whose body was noticed by her husband while on picnic but doesn't act till he finishes enjoying his outing.
`A Small Good Thing' is a very touching story about a boy getting involved in an accident on his birthday. His mother had ordered a cake for his birthday. I couldn't make sense of the ending.
`Collectors' is not even much of a story.
The worst was the `Tell the Women We're Going.' The end is shocking but I couldn't make sense of it. Why a character would suddenly becomes violent. There has not been any hint of his violent nature. There is no foreshadowing either. There has not been that provoking behavior from two strangers to result in their tragic end. And if the character has changed what led to the change?
Conclusion: I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in reading short stories. Carver has his own style but some stories reminded me of `Somerset Maugham.' Wonderful prose. High literary value.

4-0 out of 5 stars Carver re-visited
Raymond Carver was unequivocally one of the top five non-fiction writers of the c.20th. Add to this honour, that he was also the undisputed world heavyweight champion of the short story, and only then can one begins to understand the pedigree of the artist. An artist who at times painted such a thin wash over his canvass that it was still possible to see the very fabric underneath. If one were to complain that there was insufficient colour painted on his canvass, then the correct response would be to say that the reader was not fulfilling their side of the contract. A contract which Carver single-handedly re-established; that is the unwritten contact between the author and the reader which states the author provides only half of the data and the reader uses their imagination to provide the remainder. If you want Carver to spoon-feed you, you will undoubtedly walk away hungry.

Regarding the specifics of this text, it should be made clear to any potential purchaser, that all of the stories contained herein were originally published elsewhere and are contained in other collections, so more than likely you don't need to purchase this collection. In addition, I would like to point out that this text is really just a marketing spin-off from Robert Altman's 1993 'Short Cuts', which is loosely based on the nine short this anthology contains. Therein lies the reasons why I only awarded it the five stars, as this wasn't made clear on the Amazon page.

Having stated the above, I might still have purchased this collection because it contains so interesting additions and editions I have yet to come across. New works I have yet to read were:

i) Vitamins
ii) Lemonade

Both of which were excellent, especially 'Lemonade'. In addition to these two, there is also an 'alternative take' of 'A Small Good Thing', which contains not only a new ending and a fatter body, but also shows Carver in a very different mode. Firstly the re-structured tale could actually be described as 'up-beat', an adjective we seldom see used in connection with his work. Secondly and perhaps more significantly, it also contains closure - something we seldom see in Carver's work (that is closure in the 'traditional' sense).

In addition to the above gems I also liked the fact that volume has a numbered text, something which means that it could be used for a reading class or seminar. Unfortunately however, I bought the 'Reclaim' version (red cover) which is a German edition and has the key vocabulary translated into German, along with the notes and biography. Again, this was not made clear on the Amazon page.

To summarise, collectors of Carver's work will appreciate this volume, likewise new arrivals and students should also get something from this too. If you see nothing, or this collection fails to please you, then I guess you need to re-examine, what you read and why your read what you do.

5-0 out of 5 stars good textbook
I bought this for textbook requirement at community college. I got a good pricing than school bookstore.The price really helped decide to buy this book on amazon.com. The book itself is a great collection of short stories. It also has movie that's made from this book, an adaptation of it with more hollywood drama like more frontal nudity which cannot be shown in the text of the book or the murder and mayhem.

3-0 out of 5 stars Hit and miss
Raymond Carver is a very frustrating writer because he is capable of brilliance, and also capable of really bad writing. Worse, he can accomplish all in between. This is not so bad, except for the fact that I should have started my first sentence this way: Raymond Carver is a very frustrating writer because he is capable of brilliance, and also capable of publishing really bad writing. The fact that he let manifestly weak prose slip by into publication is a sad fact, because every writer has written something bad- a writer is judged by that he lets into the public domain- his/her totality of work is saved for the scholars decades or centuries hence. Having recently read his collection of short stories titled Cathedral I was hoping for far more from this book- an anthology, which generally denotes that the writer is putting forth the best of the best.

Such is not the case with Short Cuts since it seems to have been an ad hoc commercial pursuit designed to coincide with the Robert Altman film of the same name, culled from RC tales. Actually nine short stories and a poem.... In a way, he is, at his worst, far closer to the unwittingly self-parodic short story grotesques of a William Faulkner, or the even worse Flannery O'Connor. Bad dialogue can distance, subliminally, a reader from the story, and often leave the reader puzzled at the later actions of a character, because dialogue is always shown selectively, granted to a reader by a narrator that may or may not be reliable. RC is far better at standard narration and interior monologues. In a sense RC is an idea writer, not a plot writer, yet he may have been advised by others to let plot dictate, to get published. While, in the short run that may have got him published, in the long run it hurt his overall oeuvre.

That said, he is still a better short fictionist than either WF or FOC. Yet, still, it gnaws at me- what could have been had this man had just a smidgin' more self-confidence, and a tad less booze? As things turned out RC ended up much like his work- tantalizingly good, with hints of greatness, but too much muddle, and not in the middle!

5-0 out of 5 stars A world of his own
Robert Altman in his introduction to this volume speaks about the element of chance in Carver's work, and how lives are drastically changed in the Carver world by some small incident which can set everything going in a new direction, often a disastrous one.
I feel very uncomfortable with the Carver world though I see what he is doing and recognize his power as a dramatic story- writer who keeps the reader reading to know what is going to happen next. Carver's characters are often people scrambling to make a living. They are often couples in some kind of disarray. The Carver world is a harsh one and yet it has surprising moments of grace and human kindness.
Above all I feel in it some element of destruction, often violent, but often too coming from the self- destructiveness of the characters.
Carver's language is sharp , colloquial and his people seem 'real'.
I recognize his great ability as a writer but somehow I do not feel close to his world or his characters. It is too incidental, transient and difficult for me.
But probably no other writer portrays a certain kind of American world in the way he does. And he gives a feeling of its being a very real world indeed.
... Read more

6. Raymond Carver: A Writer's Life
by Carol Sklenicka
Hardcover: 592 Pages (2009-11-24)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$18.69
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 074326245X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Raymond Carver was the most beloved American short-story writer of the late twentieth century. Two decades after his death, this definitive biography tells the story of Carver's uncanny ambition, legendary life, and enduring work.

When Raymond Carver died at age fifty, readers lost a distinctive voice in its prime. Carver was, the Times of London said, "the Chekhov of middle America." His influence on a generation of writers and on the short story itself has been widely noted. Not so generally known are how Carver became a writer, how he suffered to achieve his art, and how his trou-bled and remarkable personality affected those around him.

Carol Sklenicka's meticulous and absorbing biography re-creates Carver's early years in Yakima, Washington, where he was the nervous, overweight son of a kindly, alcohol-dependent lumbermill worker. By the time he was nineteen, Ray had married his high school sweetheart, Maryann Burk. From a basement apartment where they were raising their first child and expecting their second, they determined that Ray would become a writer. Despite the handicaps of an erratic education and utter lack of financial resources, he succeeded.

Maryann's belief in Carver's talent was unshakable, as was her willingness to support the family and see her experiences transformed in his fiction. Sklenicka reveals the entwined histories of this passionate, volatile marriage and Carver's career. She describes his entry into the literary world via "little magazines" and the Iowa Writers' Workshop; his publication by Esquire editor Gordon Lish and their ensuing relationship; his near-fatal alcoholism, which worsened even as he produced many of the unforgettable stories collected in Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? and What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. The biography also depicts Carver's warmhearted friendships with scores of writers, including Richard Ford, Tobias Wolff, John Gardner, Joy Williams, Al Young, William Kittredge, Leonard Michaels, Chuck Kinder, and Hayden Carruth. Sklenicka shows how his stories about unemployment, drinking, marital trauma, divorce, troubled children, and suburban malaise, dubbed "minimalist" by critics, won readers with their precise and humane portrayal of ordinary lives. She examines the dissolution of his first marriage and his partnership with poet Tess Gallagher, who helped him enjoy the full measure of his success. Ever grateful that he'd been able to renounce alcohol, Carver shunned pity and considered himself a "lucky man" as he faced death from lung cancer in 1988.

Carol Sklenicka draws on hundreds of interviews with people who knew Carver, prodigious research in libraries and private collections, and all of Carver's poems and stories for Raymond Carver, which took ten years to write. Her portrait is generous and wise without swerving from discordant issues in Carver's private affairs. Above all Sklenicka shows how Carver's quintessentially American life fostered the stories that knowing readers have cherished from their first publication until the present day. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (20)

4-0 out of 5 stars A big good thing.
This is a fine, comprehensive, well written and easily readable account of one of my favourite writers.And think about it ; A writer writes.The work itself does not entail a particularly dynamic life.

That said, Carver's life itself was moderatley dynamic in that Carver was a lush for much of his life and a tragic one at that ; almost. I say almost because ultimately he beat the booze and began fulfilling his potential before cancer beat him.

This book is austere and perhaps a little dry.More first hand accounts may have broken it up a tad.The research is clearly there to do this.Then again for that we have the oral biography 'What we talk about when we talk about Raymond Carver'.

This account is well researched, meticulous and tasteful.It flows.In effect it matches the work of its subject.

This is surely the definitive account of Carver's life and no doubt a medium budget movie will follow.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Complicated Pleasure
It wasa great and complicated pleasure to read Carol Sklenicka's Raymond Carver. I was moved by the story (the stories ) and I loved watching the author buildthis world. The range and depth of Sklenicka's scholarship is obvious,but she never simply overwhelms the reader with her knowledge. She uses detail especially well -- deployingperfectly chosen, memorable little facts, almost like daubs of paint -- to give you the texture of the period and of her characters' experience.

Shesees the big picture too. Inside the arc ofRaymond Carver's life, Sklenicka finds and follows many large ideas. About class, culture, and ambition;about the act of writing and its institutions; about failure and success; about love, ambivalence, loyalty, and betrayal; about addiction and recovery, strength and weakness, delusion and self-knowledge;about parents, children, time, and death. This portrait is very strong, quite wise actually, clear-eyed and yet still deeply generous. Raymond Carver, his circle, and his world come poignantly alive here, in all their logic and contradiction.
Dick Blau

5-0 out of 5 stars The definitive Carver bio
Simply a must-read for dedicated Carver readers. Extremely thorough and well-researched.. sheds much light on the man and reveals heretofore unknown connections between his fiction and specific events in his life... and conjures up a whole world of mid-century America in the process. Enjoyable and edifying.

5-0 out of 5 stars Deserves the Pulitzer Prize...
For sheer richness and readability this is possibly the best author bio I've ever read and one of the best bios all-around.There are simply too many awesome details chronicled about Carver's life to list them all.

A few things that leap immediately to mind: the wild time Carver had with visiting poet, Charles Bukowski!The dark episode when Carver smashed a bottle on the side of his wife's head, causing her to lose 60% of her blood.How on the day after getting his first book published he was on trial for lying to get unemployment compensation.

The fears and the dreams, the setbacks and the dogged persistance, the addictions, the recovery, the relapse, etc.And yes, a whirlwind romance.But there is nothing "romantic" here, not in the glossy sense.His was a gritty life, much like his fiction and all the more fascinating for it.

I am writer myself and this book really opened my eyes to the fact that a "literary" writer could be as troubled and bankrupt as the next average Joe. I found myself really relating to and connecting with this man (despite not being the biggest fan of his fiction -- I admit).

I would not be surprised if this book were awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

Great job, Carol Sklenicka! :)

PS -- for another great bio on a "hard-boiled" writer's life I recommend "Savage Art: A Biography of Jim Thompson" by Robert Polito.

4-0 out of 5 stars Carver more than just the women around him
At 500 pages, Sklenicka's biography provides overwhelming detail about Carver's comings and goings, as well as rich insights into the women in Carver's life.In contrast, the men in Carver's life are for the most part sketched as two dimensional figures, either occasional drinking buddies or business connections in the publishing world.The central "thesis" of the biography seems to be that Carver's genius in finding stories and making them into distinctive "Carvers" arose somehow from the women in his life.If you believe Sklenicka, a great deal of Carver's genius was actually Maryann's.If you believe Carver, his marriage and his children almost completely destroyed his ability to write.

Unfortunately, the book lacks much insight into Carver's shaping, rewriting, and polishing of stories.There is some discussion of a correspondence course Carver took, while still very young (in high school? I don't quite remember).Then, 25 or 30 years later, Carver is giving his daughter some good advice on how to write a story.But in between the raw beginner and the accomplished New Yorker writer, there is very little discussion or even description of how he evolved his style. In that regard I consider the subtitle "A Writer's Life" to be misleading. This book is a fascinating read, as well as a socio-historical review of the 1950s through the 1980s in the U.S.But, in my opinion:
1) the author displays a strong and unsupported bias in favor of women, and
2) there is little here to inform an aspiring writer about how Carver did it, his "writer's life". ... Read more

7. All of Us: The Collected Poems
by Raymond Carver
Paperback: 416 Pages (1996-04-04)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$9.54
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375703802
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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"Carver's poetry is like an almost invisible strand of fishingline reeling us all together, connecting us by the heart." --SanFrancisco Examiner and Chronicle

This prodigiously richcollection suggests that Raymond Carver was not only America's finestwriter of short fiction, but also one of its most large-hearted andaffecting poets.Like Carver's stories, the more than 300 poems inAll of Us are marked by a keen attention to the physical world;an uncanny ability to compress vast feeling into discreet moments; avoice of conversational intimacy, and an unstintingsympathy.

This complete edition brings together all the poemsof Carver's five previous books, from Fires to the posthumouslypublished No Heroics, Please.It also contains bibliographicaland textual notes on individual poems; a chronology of Carver's lifeand work; and a moving introduction by Carver's widow, the poet TessGallagher.Amazon.com Review
In the late '70s and early '80s, Raymond Carver's spare, moving fiction had an impact on American letters like nothing before or since. But Carverbegan life as a poet, and it might be argued that in their strikingrhythms, their almost lyric compression, his stories resemble nothing somuch as narrative verse. In All of Us, his collected poems, we findwhat his widow, Tess Gallagher, calls "the spiritual current out of whichhe moved to write the short stories." Played out against the quintessentialCarver emotional landscapes of loneliness and alcohol and not enough money,these poems seem to contain the seeds of his stories within them, sometimescaught in a single image, line, or idea. Any Carver aficionado willexperience shivers of recognition while reading this volume: how the finalmoments of "My Dad's Wallet" ("our breath coming and going") transmute intothe "human noise we sat there making" in"What We Talk About When We TalkAbout Love"; the way the early poem "Distress Sale" resonates in the garagesale of his "Why Don't We Dance."

"The poems give themselves as easily and unselfconsciously as breath,"Gallagher writes in her introduction, and it's true. But just because theyare plainspoken, don't mistake these for the doodles of a fiction writerwhiling away the time between stories. Carver's poems have a lyric momentumall their own, never more evident than in his final poems, written monthsand in some cases just weeks before his death; Carver seems to have brokenaway from everything but the simplest and most direct forms of expression.This is language burnished to its essentials, heartbreaking in its veryclarity.Witness the final words he ever wrote, in "Last Fragment":

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.
That much, surely, he did. Carver lived a decade longer than he had anyright to expect, lived to give us some of his most powerful work: two ofhis three books of stories, almost all of these poems. Nearly dead fromalcoholism, he was granted a 10-year reprieve--"pure gravy," he calls thattime, in one poem--and so were we. --Mary Park ... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars a book of poetry to carry with you
I've owned the hardcover edition of Carver's collected poems since it was released back in '99 or '00, and have kept it close to me ever since.This is the direct and honest language of his prose, condensed into a more personal, more poignant, and somehow more hopeful vision of life.Reading these poems forces you to be attentive -- to "make use" as he says -- and puts you back in touch with the things that remind you of a deeper reason to be here.And, it all happens quietly, without any effort, and without any pretense.

5-0 out of 5 stars True life as true literature
There are a number of good qualities about the poems of Carver. They are written in a simple clear language. The reader can understand them. They are about events and relations between people, and tell little stories. This makes them more interesting than if they were simply about his own isolated feelings. They have strong feelings in them. And they have an appreciation for many of the good things in life, loving others, beauty of literature. They too show at times a world of destitution, suffering , loneliness, broken- downness .A reader often wants on the page greater misery than his own , as a form of consolation. There are elements too in the work alien to me.
But on the whole reading these poems gave the feeling of true life as true literature.

5-0 out of 5 stars Transcendent Beauty
Carver is a true poet.He wrote about what he knew in a life both tragic and blessed.He was aware of the beauty in pain and the pain in beauty, and his poems evoke both for us with simple mastery.Here's a fragment from THE GIFT:

This morning there's snow everywhere.We remark on it.
You tell me you didn't sleep well.I say
I didn't either.You had a terrible night."Me too."
We're extraordinarily calm and tender with each other
as if sensing the other's rickety state of mind.
As if we knew what the other was feeling.We don't,
of course.We never do.No matter.
It's the tenderness I care about.That's the gift
this morning that moves me and holds me.
Same as every morning.

Carver didn't use reality to create poems; he saw the poetry and captured it.....for us.That's his gift.

5-0 out of 5 stars Minimal is a Good Thing
Those who have stated that Carver was a minimalist seem to feel minimalism is a negative. Minimalism is a form of expression, but it reflects merely the form, not the content. These are not minimal poems. The impact comes from straight language in simple grammatical structure. It is amazing how Carver is able to convey intense emotions with such a few number of words. He is a master. After I read FEAR, I was astounded (and somewhat disturbed) at how accurately he tells the depth of fear in such mundane events and short descriptions.

I am one of those who likes Carver's short stories as well as his poetry. He definitely has a masculine voice in all his work, but there is universality in the feelings. What I find more interesting than the "masculine" aspect of his writing (Hemingway was masculine too!) is his ability to write about city life and then go back to his roots in Oregon. Most writers have one of those locations in their souls. He has both and seems at home in both.

Well, I like Raymond Carver. Could you tell? This is writing that never sought out a thesaurus and still gives more shades of interpretation than Roget ever considered.

5-0 out of 5 stars all of us - the collected poems by raymond carver
Someone told me once that this was a book of poems for men. I am not sure this is the case, but I found them absolutely beautiful, real, sad, so direct that I feel like living them.
I prefer Carver' poems than his prose...but you should choose... one of the best and more contemporary books of poems I have ever read... ... Read more

8. Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?: Stories
by Raymond Carver
Paperback: 251 Pages (1992-06-09)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$6.05
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679735690
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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With this, his first collection of stories, Raymond Carver breathed new life into the American short story.Carver shows us the humor and tragedy that dwell in the hearts of ordinary people; his stories are the classics of our time. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars Please Discover Carver, Please!

Raymond Carver's celebrayed 22short story collection that re drew the map of short story telling. The stories are often brief and give just the slightest of moments in ordinary peoples lives, yet proves the adage that everyone is extraordinary.Depite the lack of background detail and the feeling you are either thrown in or intruding on a situation that is none of your business, there is something deeply human and personal to each tale;the tensions brought on by day to day exsistence, the need for identity, to belong, to fit in-even shame at what your life is or your partners appearence,that make you instantly relate to that something that Carver manages to install in each tale. How many tales has anyone written about a door to door vacuum salesman ('Collectors') for example, thatgive an insight to our own hopes and failings?
I've read Carver's 'What we talk about when we talk about Love' and this collection is every bit as impressive. If you haven't 'discovered' Raymond Carver, please do!

5-0 out of 5 stars Short and VERY sweet!

Anyone who knows anything, knows what Carver was (and is), what he can be, could be. This book is everything conveyed with next to nothing, it is more, so much more. If Carver were music he would be jazz.

Carver's genius lies in his powers of transportation. His ability to paint his subjects in the most transparent of washes, the faintest of brush-strokes and yet still manage to make you imagine them in their fullness and their complexity. Like the Chinese or Japanese masters of 'sumi-e' (ink painting), he lays down the simplest of lines, the simplest of narratives and the simplest language to convey to the viewer (the reader) just what was intended to be conveyed. There is no waste, no excess, no fat to be trimmed here, he stops short of giving too much and just shy of not giving you enough.

Carver arguably restored the relationship, the contract between the reader and an author. A contract whereby both parties agree to work for a common goal. The author agrees to give part of the story, if the reader agrees to use their imagination to fill in the blanks. And in agreeing to this contract, they agree to not just use their imagination in some passive, inert sense, but rather agree to draw on their store of experiences and knowledge todeepen one's assimilation to the characters and situations laid down on the page.

This short collection is memorable from start to finish and is highly recommended for anyone who likes great story-telling, who is interested in the human condition, or anyone who wants to encounter just what the short story can be.

4-0 out of 5 stars I lay on the sofa and listened to the rain . . .
I know plenty of people who say things like, "My life is going to change. I feel it." They're usually trying to figure things out, working through abstract ideas about "happiness" and "satisfaction." I like these people--for the most part--and to read about them in stories that are written using the same language they use is a treat. To see the working women and men of a downtrodden 1970s America (and, truly, any time) be discussed without degradation and be looked at instead of down upon is so rare. To see them not be glorified, either, is even more rare. If anything, the characters Carver creates are painfully real, if nothing else.

Stylistically, Carver doesn't have much variety. Even when looking at the more uplifting, detailed scope of Cathedral and beyond, he's always rooted himself in characters who speak with short declarations or lengthier monologues. The people he creates are unable to interact with each other without tension, and they are the ones who drive the narrative.

That said, when Carver is good, he's good. When he's not as good, it's just because he didn't write a good story. His experimentation is limited to a couple stories in No Heroics, Please ("Furious Seasons" is mediocre Faulkner and "The Aficionados" is funny Hemingway) and the oddly brilliant short story "Errand" about the last day of Chekhov's life. Only one story in here leaves "present day" in favor of an earlier time--the mediocre "Sixty Acres," set in some sort of Little House on the Prairie era, it seems--with rest being standard Carver fare (aside from "Why, Honey?" a story in letter form from a mother to a son). The stories that miss the mark aren't bad, really, just uneventful. "The Father" seems unfinished, and certainly too short. "The Ducks" is simply boring. "Jerry and Molly and Sam" is reminiscent of Bukowski's more literary attempts at short fiction, but Carver's reluctance to write a flat-out humor story seems to have muddled things up for him. The mailman narrator of "What Do You Do In San Francisco?" is annoying, and the contrast between the family and the narrator is too heavy handed. There are a few others that just don't stick to the ribs, though I can't say that anything in here was painful to read.

The good stories are plentiful: "The Student's Wife" and "They're Not Your Husband" cover marital woes wonderfully, as we find out what people unknowingly will and will not do, respectively, to save their marriage. "Fat" is bizarre in both set-up and pay off. "Collectors" is another odd one, showing what people cling to in the pathetic depths of loneliness. Perhaps the two finest stories here--"Bicycles, Muscles, Cigarets" and "Will You Please Be Quiet, Please"--find Carver tiptoeing around Hemingway's "definition of manliness" territory. The first of these family affairs deals with a son, his father, and, disjointedly, the father's father. In the second, the reader is left in the midst of a crumbling marriage, right next to the man who had to know if the truth was more important.

Though this is his first collection, Carver already has his footing in fiction. It's almost unfair to say that the stories improve for his next collection (What We Talk About When We Talk About Love), as the good stories here are amongst his best work. This is a strong collection, but the stories worth reading (for the non-diehards) have all been anthologized in Where I'm Calling From, Carver's epic "greatest hits" book. Though he would write both his bleakest and his most optimistic work after Will You Please Be Quiet, Please, the stories found here are just as solid and honest as the very lives the emulate.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very good
The book was in very good condition, with no missing pages or any markings that I could see.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Clean, Well-lit, Declarative Sentence
When it comes to narrative or a clean, well-lit, declarative sentence, no one can match Raymond Carver. He epitomizes the American voice in modern fiction.
Carver's dialogs and scene structure brought a new 'bare bulb' lyricism to the short story. Sort of an American Gothic as envisioned by Edward Hopper filtered through Dorthea Lang with a smart twist of Ionesco.

Buy all. Read any.

### ... Read more

9. Cathedral
by Raymond Carver
Hardcover: 227 Pages (1983-08-12)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$146.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0394528840
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10. Call If You Need Me: The Uncollected Fiction and Other Prose
by Raymond Carver
Paperback: 300 Pages (2001-01-09)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$4.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375726284
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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A literary event: Raymond Carver's complete uncollected fiction and nonfiction, including the recently discovered "last" stories, found a decade after Carver's death and published here in book form for the first time.

Call If You Need Me includes all of the prose previously collected in No Heroics, Please, four essays from Fires, and those five marvelous stories that range over the period of Carver's mature writing and give his devoted readers a final glimpse of the great writer at work.The pure pleasure of Carver's writing is everywhere in his work, here no less than in those stories that have alreadey entered the canon of modern literature.Amazon.com Review
This varied collection of fiction and prose from the late, great RaymondCarver comes, once again, with an introduction by his widow, TessGallagher. The posthumous Carver industry, as overseen by Gallagher, rivalsonly that of Sylvia Plathfor its thoroughness. Perhaps it's no coincidence: both were singular,contagiously influential writers who died too early. But Plath diedfamously miserable, while Carver died famously happy, having conqueredalcohol, loneliness, and obscurity--having conquered, indeed, everythingbut his own disobedient cancerous cells.

Call If You Need Me includes works previously collected, as well assome that have never been seen before. Five new stories, discovered by Gallagher amongCarver's papers, are themselves worth the price of admission. Particularlyhaunting is "Kindling," a tale of a man who rents a room in a house for afew nights in the hopes of writing a letter to his wife. "He'd just spenttwenty-eight days at a drying-out facility," we read. "But during thisperiod his wife took it into her head to go down the road with anotherdrunk, a friend of theirs." The main elements here: a river, a couple inthe other room, an unfinished letter waiting on the desk. All this isvintage Carver, as well wrought and engrossing as the Cathedral stories.

Following the new fiction are sections devoted to book reviews,introductions, and early stories. Each presents Carver in a different pose,a different voice. It's interesting and illuminating to compare his casual,often catty discussions of contemporary literature with his deeply feltautobiographical essays. Despite the mysterious purity of his writing, he'smore than capable of engaging in literary feuds and pissing matches. Not tobe missed, however, is the wrenching autobiographical piece "My Father'sLife," which previously appeared in Fires. Also named Raymond,Carver's father struggled with alcohol, failure, and mental illness just ashis son did--and just as his son did, he wanted to come out the other sideand see his life clearly. This is an essay about how people blur into theirparents, echo them even as they leave them behind. Trying to reckon withhis father's passing, Carver also reckons with his own life: his constantstruggle to keep his eyes open, to write something good or maybe true, towrite something that would outlast him. --Emily White ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

3-0 out of 5 stars It was bound to happen...
I guess it was bound to happen one day--Carver died when I was in college, when I was still a young writer who was finding inspiration from his work.I didn't really mean to, but I most likely built a kind of Carver mythology in my head and made the mistake of taking my reverence for his writing as a reason to also revere the man as a wise soul.Perhaps it was also knowing the story of the Lish-Carver split, of a writer who broke free from the confines of an editor who had helped bring him to notoriety so that he could write according to his own vision and not the vision of another, that also made Carver a kind of iconic figure in my developing artistic sensibility.

Over time, of course, I found the less lustrous moments of Carver's work and found myself more in respect than awe.In rereading his stories, I found the gears behind the magic, saw his process of moving narrative and even allowed myself to note what stories of his I didn't like.I consider this a closer affection for Carver's work than when I was in awe of it, for it allowed me to touch the humanity of Carver's art, which I find a more solid basis for connection than reverence and idolatry.Note that I have made no mention of Carver's poetry--this is because I simply could never find myself appreciating much of it, and this is another aspect of my respect for Carver.In order to truly embrace something and hold it dear, we also need to know what's wrong with it.

So I was of course intrigued to read Carver stories that had never come to light before, and of late I have been finding myself more and more interested in the thinking processes of artists, so I wanted to read the nonfiction too, not only for insight on his own writing but in the writing of others.

The five uncollected stories here are all quite wonderful and confirm the direction of Carver's work--the compassionate insight into characters struggling to make themselves better, though that improvement is not always in the direction they initially foresee.We of course see a lot of couples in flux, even on the verge of breaking up as their best option.Among these, I think the strongest of them is the title story, for it combines the essence of what has always Carver's work so powerful--a touch of magic rooted squarely in the mundane.I would rather not give away the magical moment here, but Carver does it with skillful handling so that it is a moment as natural as any other, and his handling of characters is as thorough and as kind as ever.

The five essays included here are also quite wonderful."On Writing" and his essay on John Gardner are excellent treatises on the art of writing, done of course in a rather unobtrusive style that focuses on what Carver himself did rather than demand certain efforts from others.My wife was also quite taken with "Fires," and how Carver talks about writing (or not writing) while having children.The early stories, which are next included, are interesting but not thoroughly engaging (though, in "The Hair," it is quite funny to see Carver parodying Hemingway), but as I got through these, and of course into Carver's book reviews and commentaries, I started to get a sense of a stilted man, who had decided, through circumstance or philosophy, that writing worked best under certain circumstances.This became quite clear in his comments on Donald Barthelme and his introduction to American Short Story Masterpieces.

Perhaps Carver was still reeling at the time of these with his split from Gordon Lish, for Carver seems to insist in these works on a style of writing that is very much different from the school of writing that was (and probably is) promoted heavily by Gordon Lish, something that Carver was directed towards (willingly or unwillingly) by Lish when it came to putting together his early collections.In his review of Barthelme's Great Days, he talks about his admiration of the Donald's work, which is good to see, but he also goes on a tirade against those who imitate Barthelme's work in writing programs (a criticism that, ironically, could now be applied to many students in college writing programs who now flatly imitate Carver).In the introduction to American Short Story Masterpieces, Carver insists even more directly on fiction that exhibits the lives of "grown-up men and women engaged in the ordinary but sometimes remarkable business of living and, like ourselves, in full awareness of their mortality."

This, of course, is a good summary of Carver's aesthetic, but he seems to insist in this introduction that it is the best kind of writing, and this seems to undermine the compassionate Carver, one who might accept differences in others, for these differences seem to be okay only if they apply exclusively to this aesthetic.

Carver's shortcomings become best known through his introduction to Best American Short Stories, 1986, something I had read long ago soon after the volume had come out but hadn't revisited until reading this collection.Carver clearly made some good choices (Charles Baxter, Amy Hempel), but there is a certain amount of nepotism among his choices--Richard Ford, Tobias Wolff, and Tess Gallagher.That the first two were close friends, the last a significant other, tainted those choices for me (also the included fact that some of the selections were hand-picked by Carver and not provided by series editor Shannon Ravenel) now that I knew more about Raymond Carver the man than I did in the late 80's when I first picked up that book.

But these kinds of revelations are bound to happen and, let's face it, necessary.But was this the point of this collection?From Tess Gallagher's introduction, I think not.I am no longer in awe of Carver, and haven't been for a long time, and I still respect his work quite highly, and frankly it is good to see some chinks in the armor and evidence of his own weaknesses, but I kind of doubt that the collection was meant to leave me feeling this way.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good stories, the rest is fluff
Call If You Need Me is a collection of writings by Raymond Carver that wouldn't fit into any of his many short story collections. This anthology has five previously unpublished stories as well as a smattering of essays, notes and book reviews. I enjoyed the stories, of the other writing there were hits and misses - the introductions and the book reviews for example were there merely for the sake completeness and don't really serve much of a purpose. Recommended for the short stories.

5-0 out of 5 stars Superb
I just re-read "Kindling" for the umpteenth time, and once again I had to take a deep breath of awe afterwards. I think it's my favorite Carver story. "What Would Like to See?" is good also. They're all good. Even his early work sings with that grand Carver simplicity. But "Kindling" is outstanding. If you buy this book solely for that you're getting much more than your money's worth.

5-0 out of 5 stars Carver for friends
Try to rate a Carver short stories collection is like trying to rate your father actions. You just can't judge him, you only can stare at him. You can even try to understand him, but you don't really have to. There is something beautiful and small hidden in every adjective, every description, every end of a story. Raymond Carver's love for human actions is everywhere in his writing. He puts big attention in little details, uncovering the small moments in every relationationship. You and your wife. Your wife and her friends. Tons of couples having dinner with other couples. Every little thing is a whole world for Carver.

This book comes with four new stories recently discovered, a couple of great essays (the great "My father's life"), early stories, introductions, books reviews and a small uncomppleted fragment of a novel. Definitively, it's Carver for friends. If you are not familiar with his books, you should start with his most famous books, as "What we talk abgout when we talk about love", or his first collection of stories, "Will you please be quiet, please?". Any other case, you are welcome to enter this house.

3-0 out of 5 stars New stories great; disappointing book for real Carver fans
I am excited that there are "new" stories by Raymond Carver. "Call If You Need Me" and "Kindling" are among his best. The rest of the book is disappointing to me: I didn't realize that this would just be the new stories tacked on to NO HEROICS, PLEASE. Essentially, serious readers of Carver's work are being asked to buy the same book twice. "Call If You Need Me" can be found in this year's O. Henry anthology, and "Kindling" can be found in the current edition of Best American Short Stories. The other new stories, I guess, can be found in past issues of Esquire magazine. If the new stories were instead collected in some other way - say, in a slim volume alone, or with some unpublished work by other worthy writers, then I wouldn't be as disappointed. I was expecting a new book altogether -- not just new pages. Still, these stories need to be read. NO HEROICS, PLEASE is a book worth owning, too. If you don't already own it, then I recommend this title. Otherwise, find the new stories elsewhere. ... Read more

11. Where Water Comes Together with Other Water: Poems
by Raymond Carver
Paperback: 144 Pages (1986-03-12)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$3.00
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Asin: 039474327X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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A vast collection of poems which won "Poetry" magazine's Levinson prize."Somehow the nuances of daily experience, the warmth, humor, and reflection the poet brings to subjects are quite unlike anyone else's." - J.Parisi ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Thoughful meditiations that are universal, positive and thoughtful ...
Place a copy on the table by your bed and read a poem or two a night. Carver's thoughtful meditations on what he sees, hears and smells in the world around him will help you relax and think good, deep thoughts as you ponder the joys and sorrows of your own life.

I especially like the story-telling method he uses, first describing something he has seen and then -- before you know it -- he's talking in a universal language of the heart and soul. Yes, he writes in a sort of manly-man language that women may not appreciate, but whether he writing of his daughter trying to explain the energy between him and his ex-wife, camping along the Olympic mountain range, or his realization of his own darker deep-down feelings of love and laziness, his poetry is worthy of attention.

Here are some portions of one of his poems that serves as a good example of his skill and style; it's titled, "Happiness":

So early it's still almost dark out.
I'm near the window with coffee,
and the usual early morning stuff
that passes for thought.

When I see the boy and his friend
walking up the road
to deliver the newspaper.
They wear caps and sweaters,
and one boy has a bag over his shoulder.

They are so happy
they aren't saying anything, these boys.
I think if they could, they would take each others' arm....
[five lines are skipped]

Such beauty that for a minute
death and ambition, even love,
doesn't enter into this.
Happiness. It comes on
unexpectedly. And goes beyond,
really, any early morning talk about it.

It is so tragic that such a voice was stilled at only fifty of lung cancer. A Guggenheim Fellow, awarded NEH Grants and nominated for the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award and runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize, his three collections of short stories and poetry of this volume serve as present-day evidence in words of the visual dreams he sought to convey.

Highly recommeneded for public and academic library collections and as a gift to those with an open heart seeking greater self-understanding.

R. Neil Scott
Middle Tennessee State University

5-0 out of 5 stars Shame, loss, and trying again . . .
Carver can break your heart without seeming to try, and there is that quality in many of these poems. Written in the mid 1980s, in the last years before his death, they are that mix of bittersweet memory, melancholy, and joy taken in the here and now. Living with poet Tess Gallagher in a house overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca in Washington (Carver grew up in Yakima, Washington), he writes of the days that pass there, the frequent rains and the boats passing on the water, and he tracks the course of fleeting emotions, often triggered by long-forgotten memories.

He has this ability to discover the extraordinary in the absolute ordinary, and he can bring together ideas with images drawn from everyday life that disturb and shock the heart, as when he recalls an old relationship while describing the drops and smears of blood left in a kitchen sink after gutting fish. As with his stories, these poems are written in plain, conversational language while evoking at the same time the darkly inexpressible. Simple and direct on the surface, they are like being in a small boat on deep waters.

5-0 out of 5 stars The real stuff
These poems have the beauty of life in them. They have real pain and an honest confrontation with whatever it is Carver meets, and tries to contend with. The honesty comes with the brokenness of the life .And there is a sense that the man is telling you what he feels and what he knows and what he has learned from life. And its not an easy life. It has martial discord, and distance between loved ones, and a lot of drinking, and mixed- up relationships. But what I think redeems it and makes the poetry of Carver so appealing is that it too talks genuinely of what is good and meaningful in the life. It can be a phone - call from a brother which connects them remotely again and reminds them of the world they had once together now largely gone. It can be a meditation on a writer ( Machado) which evokes a sense of how Literature can deepen our perception into the world, it can be a lament in understanding a former wife's feelings.
It is simple language and understandable. It tells a story. It has a lot of the disorder of life in it, and the kind of scandalous things most of us would rather do without . It has embarassment and shame and failure and poverty and regret and sorrow and love- much much love. As in the poem in which he takes the time to himself given by his beloved's absence but refuses to do one thing sleep in their common bed without her. It has a rough integrity of a real human being and poet.
This is the real stuff. Enjoy it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Moving, Flowing
This is fine poetry to start Raymond Carver with. "The Ashtray" demonstrates an excellent portrayal of a selfish man and his girlfriend."My Daughter's Apple Pie" is probably one of Carver's best worksas far as showing his understatement style especially with a serioussubject (which, actually, is very common with Carver).The book containseverything: nature, death, love, father/son relationships, water,everything.Carver's death is only a loss if you do not read his work.

4-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful stuff - great positive energy
Just picked up this book for my dad for father's day.Of course, it was impossible not to dip in and sample some of the poems.They are really neat - touch a chord that resonates beautifully. ... Read more

12. Elephant and Other Stories
by Raymond Carver
Paperback: 128 Pages (2003-09-04)
list price: US$14.45 -- used & new: US$32.08
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Asin: 0099449862
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
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These seven stories were the last that Carver wrote. Among them is one of his longest, 'Errand', in which he imagines the death of Chekhov, a writer Carver hugely admired and to whose work his own was often compared. This fine story suggests that the greatest of modern short-story writers may, in the year before his untimely death, have been flexing his muscles for a longer work. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

3-0 out of 5 stars Very Good Carver Collection
If you haven't read Raymond Carver before, this is probably the wrong book with which you should start. His stories "Cathedral", "Nobody Said Anything", and "Where I'm Calling From" (to name just a few of my favorites) represent his best work; the stories contained in "Elephant" do not. Although "Intimacy" and "Blackbird Pie" are two very strong stories in "Elephant", I would reach back further if you truly want to enjoy Carver at his best. This book is really only worth the money if you are a Carver completist looking to own everything he put into print.

2-0 out of 5 stars Carver is no Chekhov.
What I can't understand is not the revered tedium of Raymond Carver, but how Robert Altman managed to use this sterile material to create one of the great, rich tragicomic masterpieces of the last twenty years.The closing story here, about the death of Chekhov, is an attempt to extend his range,but the flat biographical style, the phoney insertions of 'meaningful'details and 'significant' events, the clumsy gropings for understatedemotion, are quite intolerable. ... Read more

13. Carver Country: The World of Raymond Carver
by Raymond Carver, Bob Adelman
 Hardcover: 159 Pages (1990-10-31)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$11.01
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Asin: B000H2MLBM
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Raymond Carver's gritty texts, combined with Adelman's photographs of Carver's people and haunts, re-create the world of this major writer, bringing to life the bleak, blue-collar towns, people, and places that became the inspiration for much of his work. 113 duotone photos. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Compelling.Each photo tells a story.Grade: A+
_Carver Country_ is a fascinating look at Raymond Carver's personal life.Warning: one feels like a snoop reading through this book.There are photos of Ray's desk, complete with ashtray and paperweights; his childhood home; various landmarks in and around Yakima, WA and Arcata, CA; and portraits of Ray's family and friends.These last are especially powerful.But aside from the photos, there are words - unpublished letters written by Ray, an excerpt from a 1983 interview for _Poetry_ magazine (which includes my favorite line - "That's the last Christmas you'll ever ruin for us!"), and a substantial introduction by Tess Gallagher.It is wonderful and strange to see the places that were turning points in Carver's life, and the accompanying text is haunting.Gallagher's introduction is especially fine, and worth reading many times.Get this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars This book is very moving
Carver was a wonderful, wonderful writer. It's great to see his house, his study, his wife and friends photographed so beautifully. It's great to read his stories, his poems, more than 10 years after his death and to find themas powerful as ever.This book is very moving. ... Read more

14. Fires: Essays, Poems, Stories
by Raymond Carver
Paperback: 208 Pages (1989-06-18)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$3.85
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Asin: 0679722394
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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"You should read Fires now. These stories and poems...show the enormous talent of Raymond Carver beginning to take hold."

-- San Francisco Chronicle

"Seminal in Carver studies...A disparate collection of work bound by a unity of vision and obsession."

-- Los Angeles Herald Examiner

"Carver's most revealing book...This collection confirms the worth of Raymond Carver's work...Like bright birds in distant trees, Carver's stories appear in flashes, glimpses; Fires reveals the arc of his purposeful flight."

-- Boston Globe ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Must Have
A must have for hardcore Carver fans -- older, un-refined stories, poems, and essays, reveals more about Carver's style and work.

5-0 out of 5 stars The wonderful and aptly named Carver!
Carver is a master of the short story but this collection is a good introduction to his poetry as well because it collects both poems and stories.It's a wonderful example of how he used themes from his stories manipulated into shorter poems.As always his exact use of language cuts straight to the heart.Reading Carver's work is like studying with a very great writing teacher.

5-0 out of 5 stars The fire this time
This review relates to the poems, and not the essays and the stories. The poems are among Carver's best. They mark out the time of life when he is most deeply disturbed. So the poems about alcoholism ( although this is not the right way of saying it because they are never simply just about that) are among the most moving. His long poem on Charles Bukowski is very effective. It gives a sense of how this kind of 'portrait of another person' by seeing the world through his voice, can truly be an insight into the writer's own life also. Of course the poems about marital discord and break -up also tear at the heart. Carver writes "Someone else is raising my children, and bedding my wife" .
All in all the honesty, the direct language and feeling, the storytelling power , the sense of appreciation of everyday seeing and feeling of life- all this work together to make these poems of fire ,poems which even when they tell of destruction give off a burning light.

5-0 out of 5 stars The "fires" in his life!- Greatest influences
When Raymond Carver died in 1988 at 50, the literary world lost a truly unique short story writer.Carver, a master at dialogue and often called a minimalist, created stories with substance where a mystery looms beyond the surface, stories so commonplace, with common people doing common things.

It's true, the stories are laced with people who endure alcoholic sadness, financial burdens, emotional immaturity and those just searching for the dream that doesn't quite happen.

We get a glimpse into their lives and these characters reflect everyday America whether it was the 60s or the 90s.Those characters are his life and they are us!Read any Raymond Carver story and you can identify with some element.

Referring to the title, "Fires", Carver is talking about two strong influences in his life, one being Gordon Lish, at that time, a literary editor and the other, John Gardner, who said to become a writer you need the necessary "fire". The profound essays are titled "John Gardner, The Writer as Teacher", and the other is "On Writing."He offers excellent advice.

Carver believes the strongest "fire" he had was his two children, a time he refers to as "ravenous and ferocious years of parenting."He writes of that epiphanous moment in a laundromat, laboring over washers and anxiously waiting with frustration over the next available dryer before picking up the kids.This parental chore was NOT what he envisioned great writers doing.

Sadly, what he means about the children being a great influence in his words: "And I would always have them, and always find myself in this position of unrelieved responsibility and permanent distraction."

The bulk of the book is poems that reflect his life, and the poem about Charles Bukowski is here.If you prefer his literary poems, a wonderful collection is here and just a few other short stories "Distance", "Harry's Death", "The Lie" and an amusing story, "Where is Everyone", the title later revised to "Mr. Fixit."If you know Carver's many stories were revised by Carver or possibly the editors, but this collection includes the longer version of "So Much Water So Close to Home"

And, like any other Carver collection, this is especially good because of his essays on the "fires" in his life....MZRIZZ.

4-0 out of 5 stars Read it for the Poems
As spare as they are, most of Carver's short stories strike me as a bit long-winded. Not so his poetry, which treats his usual themes--alcoholism, working-class poverty, and rocky relationships--with greater wit and vigor than his prose. The essays will be of interest to would-be writers and Carver biographers, but what makes this book outstanding is the 60 pages of poetry which comprise its heart. ... Read more

15. What It Used to Be Like: A Portrait of My Marriage to Raymond Carver
by Maryann Burk Carver
 Hardcover: 368 Pages (2006-07-11)
list price: US$25.95 -- used & new: US$10.29
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Asin: B001G7RDKQ
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Maryann Burk Carver met Raymond Carver in 1955, when she was fifteen years old and he was seventeen. In What It Used to Be Like, she recounts a tale of love at first sight in which two teenagers got to know each other by sharing a two-year long-distance correspondence that soon after found them married and with two small children.
Over the next twenty-five years, as Carver's fame grew, the family led a nomadic life, moving from school to school and teaching post to teaching post. In 1972, they settled in Cupertino, California, where Raymond Carver gave his wife one of his sharpened pencils and asked her to write an account of their history.
The result is a memoir of a marriage, replete with an intimacy of detail that fully reveals the talents and failings of this larger-than-life man, his complicated relationships, and his profound loves and losses. What It Used to Be Like brings to light for the first time Raymond Carver's lost years and the "stories behind the stories" of this brilliant writer.
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Customer Reviews (16)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Necessary Read For Anyone Serious About Fiction Writing
Of course it's Maryann's view. Of course it's not Ray's writing. But it's an intimate view into the life of a committed writer who started at the bottom and rose to the stratosphere of respect in the world of literary short fiction. This is a well-written behind-the-scenes view of Ray Carver's herculean struggle and the effect it had on his family.

If I ever win the lottery, I'm going to set up a trust fund for struggling writers and their families. It's a sad reflection on our country's educational system that more resources aren't available for them.

I applaud Ray for his committment, determination and talent, and I salute Maryann for her heroism. Thanks, Maryann, for writing this.

3-0 out of 5 stars Tikkun Olam
Maryann Burk Carver's memoir of her marriage to Ray Carver is ultimately a tragic story of self-indulgence.Ray Carver inflicted deep wounds on his family so that he could write clever stories for clever academics. Are his stories worth the near destruction of his family's lives?Mary Ann Burk Carver is guilty in this abusive marriage as well by taking this freeloading drunk back again and again. Yes, it's easy for me looking from a distance to criticize and maybe I don't know enough about love, but I know about pain and fear and what it does to people. Who can justify this behavior in the name of Art?

Her comments about how beautiful and how smart she was are a bit nauseating. I came away disliking both of these people.Without trying tosound pious I believe we have a duty to repair this world in some small and not so small way.Art can do this - see works of John Gardner - but not by leaving broken bodies along the way.

1-0 out of 5 stars Read this and you STILL won't know about Raymond Carver!
Anyone who wants to read this book does so because of Raymond Carver.You will not find anything more about Raymond Carver that is already written.This book is solely about Mary Ann Carver.Ok, so who is Mary Ann Carver???Why would I want to learn every detail, excessive memory detail about just anybody.After 200 hundred pages I began to think, "I still don't know about Raymond Carver."

"Nobody gives writers' wives any credit"
Mary Ann admits that at parties and gatherings writers' wives are given no credit.That's true and it goes for any successful person who has someone in the background.That successful person may give the credit to the background person, but nobody else knows about it or cares.Herein lies the premise of this book.

Characters we love or hate?Or don't even care?
What I felt like I was reading was somebody I didn't know or care about and numerous family members that become meaningless to the reader.Any book has to have characters we love or hate, and here, we just don't care.There isn't much about the man and his greatness.

The past is all about moving here, moving there, being broke, finding someone to take care of the kids, and Mary Ann's family.Little is mentioned about Raymond, and little is mentioned about his work!Ray was here, or Ray went there, Ray studied here, Ray did this and that, but there is no substance to allow the reader to discover something we didn't know about the man.

Pictures in the book and Chronology
Yes there are pictures of early Carver and family, but these are interspersed throughout pages and with a grainy look. Chronology
The best thing about this book is a chronology of Carver's life.

If you want to read and know more about Carver, read Carver Country: The World of Raymond Carver.This is a large format book with pictures of where he was, the pics that identify the stories, and an excellent intro with Tess Gallagher, his 2nd wife.There are short passages from the stories to associate with the pics.

4-0 out of 5 stars Raymond's Muse
It is impossible, having read this book, not to find Maryann Burk's imprint on nearly everything Ray Carver wrote. Every couple, every Jack or Iris, every 'I and she,'turn out to be Ray and Maryann Carver, and every incident is an incident lifted from their life together and, later, their lives apart, rendered hauntingly and brilliantly by Carver. His stories only grow richer for having been placed in this larger context.

I couldn't disagree more with the Publishers Weekly review. I found the book enthralling, honest, and at times heartbreaking. I found Maryann Burk an enchanting figure with a lyrical voice, a larger-than-life personality, and a very American story to tell. It is no surprise that Ray continued to write about her to the very end.My only regret is that her story was so violently abridged. I would happily have read more.

2-0 out of 5 stars instructional manual for destroying children
This is a cautionary tale about marrying too young and being impulsive.TheCarvers were children when they wed, and popped out two kids in about 12 months.Those poor children were dragged from pillar to post to satisfy their father's wanderlust and their mother's poor self control.No wonder both kids turned out, as one 'friend' is quoted to the author 'f__ed up".
The two parents were constantly one step ahead of the debt collector, and never put the needs of their children ahead of whatever watering hole or half baked idea they happened upon.What a depressing story.
... Read more

16. Remembering Ray: A Composite Biography of Raymond Carver
by William L. Stull, Maureen P. Carroll
Paperback: 312 Pages (1993-09)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$5.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0884963705
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17. Call If You Need Me
by Raymond Carver
Paperback: 256 Pages (2001-06-21)
list price: US$20.65 -- used & new: US$10.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1860468462
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
A new collection containing previously unpublished stories that show Carver at the peak of his powers as a contemporary master of American fiction. When he died in August 1988, Raymond Carver had just published what were thought to be his last stories in his own selection, Where I'm Calling From. This new volume brings together all of his uncollected fiction, including three late stories only recently discovered in his house in Port Angeles, a fragment of a novel, five early stories, and all of his non-fiction prose, including his last essay "Friendship", about a London reunion with Richard Ford and Tobias Wolff. The five "new" stories are wonderful examples of his late open style, while the non-fiction prose includes all of the essays, together with occasional commentary on his own fiction and poetry, writings on the American short story, and reviews of work by his contemporaries, including Donald Barthelme, Richard Brautigan, Jim Harrison, Thomas McGuane and Richard Ford. Call if you Need Me: The Uncollected Writings takes us into Carver's workshop, and completes the picture of one of the most original writers of his generation in the English language. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

I'll admit it is difficult to write a review of a book that has not even been published yet, but hey, it IS Raymond Carver, so you and I both know that here again is the opportunity to feel the magic of his genius. He canaffect and move your interior landscapes as only a few other authors whohave that gift can do. Read everything he wrote. It'll be good for you. ... Read more

18. A New Path to the Waterfall
by Raymond Carver
Paperback: 160 Pages (1994-01-13)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$5.48
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0871133741
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Raymond Carver finished A New Path To The Waterfall shortly before his death in August 1988. These fifty poems--as hard and clear and emotionally pure as his short stories--chart a human journey: false starts and redemptions, the discovery of happiness, memory, and leave-taking, and the full apprehension of mortality. An avowal of love, this collection is also a haunting record of Carver's approach to death. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Raymond Carver--A New Path to the Waterfall
I love Carver and I was glad to get this volume of his last works.

5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful collection
Gravy and Late Fragment are two of the most beautiful and powerful poems I know . . . .

5-0 out of 5 stars The last poems . . .
This was Raymond Carver's 11th and apparently last book of poems, published after his death by his wife Tess Gallagher, who writes a long, thoughtful introduction describing Carver's last months before dying of cancer at age 50. Unlike his previous collection, "Where Water Comes Together With Other Water," this book has a number of poems that are more dream-like and surreal, the references not always easy to grasp. There are story poems that resemble the characters and situations in his short stories. And there are brief selections from the writings and poems of Anton Chekhov, Czeslaw Milosz, and others, which provide an allusive context of ideas and images for Carver's own poems.

There is the usual melancholy and awareness of death in these poems, made more riveting by the knowledge of the poet's awareness of his own approaching death. Reading his words and apprehending the emotions they convey, you find yourself treasuring deeply your own living moments - all of them, ordinary or extraordinary as they may be.

The poems are variations on related themes, ideas and observations captured and rendered in a wide variety of moods. There is sad bitterness in a poem about his son, "On an Old Photograph Of My Son." There are memories of boyhood in Yakima and a memoir-like fragment in "Some Prose on 'Poetry'," describing a stranger's gift of poetry books to him at an impressionable age. "His Bathrobe Pockets Stuffed With Notes" is a playful catalog of random thoughts entertained and then dismissed as "horsing around." Another poem, rich with evocative detail, illustrates the creative process, "The Painter & the Fish." There are love poems, a sadly humorous poem about his toes, and a poem about the excesses of Alexander the Great.

It's a fine book, a great reminder of things that really matter - of living the dwindling days wholeheartedly.

5-0 out of 5 stars '' beloved on the earth"
This is Raymond Carver's last collection of poems. It was put together with the help of the love and companion of the last eleven years of his life, the writer Tess Gallagher. She also includes a long introduction to the work explaining the process of the book's making.
Carver is a poet of directness, simplicity, emotional courage. His poems are often stories built around direct observations or statements of his present mood, a mood that is also reflective on other times of life. The poems which I believe are most moving often have to do with relationships, with his father, with his former wife, with his children.
His world is often a disordered and painful one, the alcoholic's world , the world of those in debt and down. But there is in him almost always a redemptive appreciation of life, a certain hidden joy and emotional surprise which gives the poems their special life.
Among the beautiful poems of this work is one called 'Cherish' in which he tells of the tenderness in his relationship with Tess Gallagher.
I was very moved by the last poem , a fragment that sums up the man and the redemptive power of his work.


And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Style is the Man
Raymond Carver, whom I had the fortuitous pleasure of having lunch with, along with his girfriend Tess Gallagher, a couple of years before he died, was a true artist. Emily Dickinson puts poets above the sun and God in pantheon of what's most important, and people like Raymond Carver prove her right.Although this last offering by the 20th century's greatest minimalist writer is neither his greatest nor his most minimal, it strikes the same generous chord of longing, of heart warming simplicity and heart breaking honesty, that Carver strikes elsewhere.The style is the man, wrote Buffon (in French), and sure enough that is the case here: a style of simple emotional honesty, combined with an artist's experimental will to playfulness, sufffused with a hope whose transcendent beauty is precisely its distillation from the undoctored elements of ordinary reality.This book, enhanced and completed by Tess Gallagher's wonderfully loving but unsentimental introduction, shows Carver at the end of his life; still excited about art, and the possibility of the poem form, he splices lines from Chekov stories, giving them titles and thereby
transforming them into poem epigraphs to his own measured prose. The transformation of the Chekov short story to the Carver poem perhaps underscores the poetic process itself, whittling down reality into its artistic essence--the process so aptly demonstrated by Carver, who never wrote a novel, in his short stories. As Salmon Rushdie says on the cover (I paraphrase), read this book by Carver.Read everything by Carver. Raymond Carver was a great writer. ... Read more

19. Conversations with Raymond Carver (Literary Conversations Series)
Paperback: 288 Pages (1990-10-01)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$22.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0878054499
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
This collection of Raymond Carver's interviews reveals him to have been perhaps the premier short-story writer of his generation, a lyric-narrative poet of singular resonance, and a staunch proponent of realistic fiction in the wake of postmodern formalism. The twenty-five conversations gathered here, several available in English for the first time, include craft interviews, biographical portraits, self-analyses, and wide-ranging reflections on the current literary scene.

Carver discusses his changing views of his widely influential fiction collections What We Talk About When We Talk About Love (1981), Cathedral (1983), and Where I'm Calling From (1988). Carver explains how at the height of his fame as a fiction writer he turned to poetry, producing three prize-winning books in as many years. Finally, in the closing months of his life, he talks about the coming of his last triumphant stories, the ones that secured his reputation. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars If you're a fan of Ray, pony up and Pay for this book
I've been a fan of Ray Carver for many years and ordered this book on a whim. I am very glad I did. This book is chock full of interviews with Ray about his writing at various points in his career. It's obvious he liked doing interviews and his answers are always very thoughtful; some are donwright inspiring if you're a writer. The book is a good look in the life and mind of one of America's best short story writers in the last 50 years. ... Read more

20. The Carver Chronotope: Contextualizing Raymond Carver (Studies in Major Litterary Authors)
by G.P. Lainsbury
Hardcover: 208 Pages (2009-04-01)
list price: US$39.95 -- used & new: US$36.04
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0415803489
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Raymond Carver's fiction is widely known for its careful documentation of lower-middle-class North America in the 1970s and 80s. Building upon the realist understanding of Carver's work, Raymond Carver's Chronotope uses a central concept of Bakhtin's novelistics to formulate a new context for understanding the celebrated author's minimalist fiction. G. P. Lainsbury describes the critical reception of Carver's work and stakes out his own intellectual and imaginative territory by arguing that Carver's fiction can be understood as diffuse, fragmentary, and randomly ordered. Offering a fresh analysis of Carver's body of work, this book offers an extensive meditation on this major figure in postmodern U.S. fiction. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Not bad
One of the best critiques of Carver's work I've read.Lively and not too boring, and an interesting concept. ... Read more

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