Raymond Carver: An Oral Biography

Overview

Raymond Carver has become a literary icon for our time. When he died in 1988 at the age of fifty, he was acclaimed as the greatest influence on the American short story since Hemingway. Carver's friends were the stuff of legend as well. In this rich collection—greatly expanded from the earlier When We Talk about Raymond Carver—of interviews with close companions, acquaintances, and family, Sam Halpert has chronologically arranged the reminiscences of Carver's adult life, recalling his difficult “Bad Raymond” days...

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Raymond Carver: An Oral Biography

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Overview

Raymond Carver has become a literary icon for our time. When he died in 1988 at the age of fifty, he was acclaimed as the greatest influence on the American short story since Hemingway. Carver's friends were the stuff of legend as well. In this rich collection—greatly expanded from the earlier When We Talk about Raymond Carver—of interviews with close companions, acquaintances, and family, Sam Halpert has chronologically arranged the reminiscences of Carver's adult life, recalling his difficult “Bad Raymond” days through his second life as a recovering alcoholic and triumphantly successful writer. The result is a spirited Irish wake—toasts, anecdotes, lies, songs, confessions, laments—all beautifully orchestrated by Halpert into a very readable and moving narrative.

These funny, poignant, intensely remembered interviews juxtapose personal anecdotes and enlightening criticism. Memory mixes with analysis, and a lively picture of Carver emerges as we hear different stories about him—of the same story told from different viewpoints. He is here presented as hero, victim, and even villain—Carver's readers will recognize the woof and warp of his stories in these affectionate narratives.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“I don't know another book like this one. It is a biography, an appreciation, a recollection, and a shrewd critical assessment of a unique American writer—written by people who knew him best: his family, his friends, and his fellow writers. It will have to be read by anyone seriously interested in the fiction of Raymond Carver.”—C. Michael Curtis, senior editor, Atlantic Monthly

Library Journal
Though this oral biography confesses to being a "toast" to a "beloved man," it is an engrossing, touching, and insightful remembrance of Carver by his family, friends, and fellow writers. We see the devastating effects of Carver's long bout with alcoholism and the pitiful poverty in which he, his first wife, and two children lived. Carver emerges as a funny and lovable man, despite his occasional alcohol-induced abusiveness. He recovered from his alcoholism and wrote productively once again for several years before his early death from lung cancer in 1988. These reminiscences include many insights into the sources and literary qualities of his writings. This highly readable oral biography is an expanded and rearranged version of When We Talk About Raymond Carver (Gibbs Smith, 1991). It should be included in good collections on 20th-century literature, especially those that did not acquire the earlier edition.Peter Dollard, Alma Coll. Lib., Mich.
Booknews
A collection of Lawrence and Lee's major plays: Inherit the Wind, Auntie Mame, The Gang's All Here, Only in America, A Call on Kuprin, Diamond Orchid, The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail, and First Monday in October. Introductions to each play place them in their critical and historical contexts. Includes b&w photos, and a chronology. No index. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780877455035
  • Publisher: University of Iowa Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/1995
  • Pages: 196
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

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