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Call If You Need Me: The Uncollected Fiction and Other Prose

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Perhaps no other writer of his generation has had more impact on the shape of fiction in the latter decades of the twentieth century than Raymond Carver. From the blue-collar realism of his early writing to his expansive later stories, the cool-eyed intensity and steady witnessing of Carver's work remains an inspiration for readers and writers alike. Call If You Need Me tra Perhaps no other writer of his generation has had more impact on the shape of fiction in the latter decades of the twentieth century than Raymond Carver. From the blue-collar realism of his early writing to his expansive later stories, the cool-eyed intensity and steady witnessing of Carver's work remains an inspiration for readers and writers alike. Call If You Need Me traces the arc of Carver's career, not in the widely anthologized stories that have become classics, but through his uncollected fiction and his essays. Here are the five "last stories," discovered a decade after Carver's death. Also here are Carver's first published story, the fragment of an unfinished novel, and all of his nonfiction--from a recollection of his father to reflections on writers as varied as Anton Chekhov and John Gardner, Donald Barthelme and Sherwood Anderson. Call If You Need Me does not merely enhance the stature of a twentieth-century master; it invites us to travel with a singular artist, step by step, as he discovers what is worth saying and how to say it so it pierces the heart.


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Perhaps no other writer of his generation has had more impact on the shape of fiction in the latter decades of the twentieth century than Raymond Carver. From the blue-collar realism of his early writing to his expansive later stories, the cool-eyed intensity and steady witnessing of Carver's work remains an inspiration for readers and writers alike. Call If You Need Me tra Perhaps no other writer of his generation has had more impact on the shape of fiction in the latter decades of the twentieth century than Raymond Carver. From the blue-collar realism of his early writing to his expansive later stories, the cool-eyed intensity and steady witnessing of Carver's work remains an inspiration for readers and writers alike. Call If You Need Me traces the arc of Carver's career, not in the widely anthologized stories that have become classics, but through his uncollected fiction and his essays. Here are the five "last stories," discovered a decade after Carver's death. Also here are Carver's first published story, the fragment of an unfinished novel, and all of his nonfiction--from a recollection of his father to reflections on writers as varied as Anton Chekhov and John Gardner, Donald Barthelme and Sherwood Anderson. Call If You Need Me does not merely enhance the stature of a twentieth-century master; it invites us to travel with a singular artist, step by step, as he discovers what is worth saying and how to say it so it pierces the heart.

30 review for Call If You Need Me: The Uncollected Fiction and Other Prose

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ben Winch

    Raymond Carver is an American (North American) phenomenon. If he was Latin American maybe he would have shorn his work to the bone for real Juan Rulfo style, but instead editor Gordon Lish did it for him – in Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?, in What We Talk About When We Talk About Love (title Lish's) – and when he outgrew Lish he let himself bloat, in Cathedral and (less so) in Elephant. Elephant, in my opinion, is closest to perfect, but it's light, airy, like Antonio Tabucchi (Italian) with Raymond Carver is an American (North American) phenomenon. If he was Latin American maybe he would have shorn his work to the bone for real Juan Rulfo style, but instead editor Gordon Lish did it for him – in Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?, in What We Talk About When We Talk About Love (title Lish's) – and when he outgrew Lish he let himself bloat, in Cathedral and (less so) in Elephant. Elephant, in my opinion, is closest to perfect, but it's light, airy, like Antonio Tabucchi (Italian) with less refinement or Natsume Soseki (Japanese) with less weight. What I'm saying: Carver is a world writer – he penetrates boundaries – and part of the reason is his celebrated simplicity. But the manner of his birth as a public figure, including its midwives (Lish, Esquire, the small magazines, the institutionalised study and teaching of writing in the U.S.A.), and the effect of that birth on his writing, is North American through and through. Working class hero? If you come to Carver expecting that you'll be let down. Yes, his father was a sawmill worker (alcoholic, too) from Clatskanie, Oregon, but Raymond Junior was a slacker, a professional student, and, by the time he met his second wife Tess Gallagher and sobered up and the grants rolled in, judging by Elephant and the late poems, a kind of bourgeois. Minimalist? The Burning Plain (Rulfo) is minimalist. And yeah, Lish's edit of What We Talk About... is a kind of cartoon minimalist (or baroque minimalist, luxuriating in its capacity for glib shocks), but it's not Carver's. Carver, he's sentimental, expansive even (in 'Cathedral', 'A Small, Good Thing', 'Where I'm Calling From'). Lish's editing was genius – slick, cold, lucid. But he dulled the heartshock, the honesty, the love. Call if You Need Me is 3 stories: 'Kindling', 'Dreams', the title story. 3 of Carver's best, most direct, least shined to a polish. You'll be buying/borrowing the book for these 3 stories (unpublished during his lifetime) only, but the Harvill edition is beautiful and the stories are, truly, 'world class'. Here he transcends the labels and comes close to elemental. Here he stops holding his breath, stops gasping, and finds his rhythm. They're not perfect, but they're 3 small masterpieces. RIP Raymond. You had heart. And humility. Some of Carver's Best: From Will You Please be Quiet, Please?: Neighbours Are You a Doctor? Why, Honey? From What We Talk About When We Talk About Love: I Could See the Smallest Things The Third Thing that Killed My Father Off Gazebo From Cathedral: Vitamins Cathedral Where I'm Calling From From Elephant: Menudo Elephant Errand From the poems: The long poem 'You Don't Know What Love Is' The collection Where Water Comes Together With Other Water (Both published in All of Us: The Collected Poems – highly recommended, rarely read, and proof that Carver was not deluded in thinking himself equally a poet and a prose writer.)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    In retrospect maybe this book isn't worth four stars. Stories that at the time of his death hadn't been collected in books yet, along with some essays about writing and literature. Yet another review for a book I read at some indeterminate number of years ago that I remember very little about. In lieu of a real review, here is a piece I'd like to call: What I Thought about When I Thought about Raymond Carver Today. Thinking about what to write today I was thinking about how some writers have caree In retrospect maybe this book isn't worth four stars. Stories that at the time of his death hadn't been collected in books yet, along with some essays about writing and literature. Yet another review for a book I read at some indeterminate number of years ago that I remember very little about. In lieu of a real review, here is a piece I'd like to call: What I Thought about When I Thought about Raymond Carver Today. Thinking about what to write today I was thinking about how some writers have careers that seem to stretch for decades. Like when you think of Philip Roth, there are Philip Roth's for the 60's through the current time. All different Philip Roth's. Sort of like John Updike too. Other writers seem to embody just one small sliver of time. Like Tom Robbins, he can keep writing novels till he's 189 years old, but most likely it will still seem like he's stuck sometime in the post-1960's to very early 1980's. He'll never wash ex-hippie from him. Raymond Carver seems to embody such a small sliver of time, like very early 1980's and he might be dead by that point, or maybe not. I have no idea how long he was really in the spotlight for, or when he died, and I'm not looking it up, because it's beside the point, he's there for like a moment, sort of like in music Nirvana to me, they aren't timeless they are a brief flicker of early 1990's that are then gone, and Carver is sort of the same way, but for about 10 or 15 years earlier, of course I know what I'm talking about, at least subjectively for Nirvana, and I'm talking out my ass about Raymond Carver, but anyway; that's what I've been thinking about when I've been thinking about Raymond Carver for the past day or two (ohhhhhhhh Henry twist!!! I said today in the title, but it's actually been for the past two days!!!!!).

  3. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    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 no 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.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Magdelanye

    We were interested in stories that had a strong narrative drive, with characters we could respond to as human beings, but stories where the effects of language, situation and insight were intense and total- short stories which on occasion had the ambition of enlarging our view of ourselves and the world. from the essay Fiction of Occurrence and Consequence p220 written with Tom Jenks Emptiness is the beginning of all things. from the uncollected stories Kindling p10 I began my acquaintance with RC We were interested in stories that had a strong narrative drive, with characters we could respond to as human beings, but stories where the effects of language, situation and insight were intense and total- short stories which on occasion had the ambition of enlarging our view of ourselves and the world. from the essay Fiction of Occurrence and Consequence p220 written with Tom Jenks Emptiness is the beginning of all things. from the uncollected stories Kindling p10 I began my acquaintance with RC via rumour, vague references that cropped up in a number of circumstances. In spite of my tendencies, I was curious enough, reading about his work in yet another unlikely place,The George Grant Reader I decided this book was necessary to fill in some blanks. Containing samples from the wide range of his interests, there are 5 recently discovered short stories; essays written for introductions, mostly for books he had a hand in editing and for special occasions; essays as tribute including one very moving one on his father and a rather shocking one on his children; and including his contemplations on writing; and 12 book reviews. That's all we have, finally, the words, and they had better be the right ones, with the punctuation in the right places so that they can best say what they are meant to say. p 90 On Writing If the words in the story were blurred because of the authors insensitivity, carelessness, or sentimentality, then the story suffered from a tremendous handicap. But there was something that must be avoided at all costs: if the words and the sentiment were dishonest, the author was faking it, writing about things he didn't care about or believe in, then nobody could ever care anything about it. from the essay John Gardner: Writer as Teacher p113 It's a rough-hewn precision that RC achieves, and that is part of his appeal. Frankly, I did not like many of the stories, bleak slices of life that end abruptly. His clipped prose of the fiction contrasts with the effusiveness evident in many of the essays and especially the book reviews. There is something seriously old-fashioned in his modern approach. Opinionated, yes; but there is also something endearing in his stubborn refusal to cater to flash and dazzle; in his plain search for truth. 4/7 in my system, 3.5 rounded up to a 4 out respect for this man and his devoted energy. What you do matters. What you do, right or wrong, has consequences....p247 quote from a review on a book by William Kittredge Get in, get out. Don't linger. Go on. On Writing p87

  5. 4 out of 5

    Larry Bassett

    This book was assembled after the death of the author. I listen to it in the Audible format and I think it is the same Reeder who has read the other books I have listen to by this author. He seems to have a dedicated reader. That is an interesting fact. The book includes a fairly wide variety of types of writing. There is some discussion of the people who went through the massive amount of paper that he left behind to select out what is included here. There are some of his short stories, some of This book was assembled after the death of the author. I listen to it in the Audible format and I think it is the same Reeder who has read the other books I have listen to by this author. He seems to have a dedicated reader. That is an interesting fact. The book includes a fairly wide variety of types of writing. There is some discussion of the people who went through the massive amount of paper that he left behind to select out what is included here. There are some of his short stories, some of his own writing about some of his stories and poems, and a number of reviews of books by other authors that he wrote. I think you might have to be a bit more of a dedicated follower of this author to fully enjoy this book. There is a good deal in the book of the authors own words about his words in the words of others and the process of writing. I always think of this author as having a somewhat troubled life with alcohol and alcoholism. There is no evidence or allusion to that issue anywhere in this book unless you consider the regular references to geographic relocation. His moves between Syracuse New York and the north west and California are mentioned. Occasional financial struggles are Eluded to but not focused upon.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Luís

    The story follows a traditional plot structure, with an exposition, a rising action, a climax, a falling action, and a resolution. However, the plot of the story does not rely on an open, explicit conflict between the spouses but an inner, hidden conflict.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kent

    I was drawn in by the 5 stories that constitute the first section of this book: Raymond Carver can write! His writing is simple and honest, not flowery or pretentious, nor simplistic. It seems that most of the characters in his story are flawed and usually divorced or soon-to-be divorced. Life is hard. Carver reveals what matters to him in one of his book reviews, where he writes: "Fiction that counts is about people. Does this need saying? Maybe. Anyway, fiction is not, as some writers believe, I was drawn in by the 5 stories that constitute the first section of this book: Raymond Carver can write! His writing is simple and honest, not flowery or pretentious, nor simplistic. It seems that most of the characters in his story are flawed and usually divorced or soon-to-be divorced. Life is hard. Carver reveals what matters to him in one of his book reviews, where he writes: "Fiction that counts is about people. Does this need saying? Maybe. Anyway, fiction is not, as some writers believe, the ascendance of technique over content. These days [1980] we also seem to be long on novels and short stories in which people are reduced to nameless or otherwise easily forgettable 'characters,' hapless creatures who have nothing much to do in this life or, even worse, go about doing unthinking and uncaring things to their own kind. In fiction that matters the significance of the action inside the story translates to the lives of people outside the story.... In the best novels and short stories, goodness is recognized as such. Loyalty, love, fortitude, courage, integrity may not always be rewarded, but they are recognized as good or noble actions or qualities; and evil or base or simply stupid behavior is seen and held up for what it is: evil, base, or stupid behavior. There are a few absolutes in this life, ... and we would do well not to forget them" (pp. 255-56). Along those lines, Carver quotes with approval Hemingway: A writer's "standard of fidelity to the truth should be so high that his invention, out of his experience, should produce a truer account than anything factual can be" (277). What's unique about this book is that in this one collection are some of Carver's short stories, reviews of other books, and autobiographical sketches, so that we have lying side by side by side the author, the characters he created, and his opinion on the writings of others. As a result one can easily see how most of his characters share at least a little bit of Carver himself. The sections of the book: Uncollected Stories Five Essays and a Meditation Early Stories Fragment of a Novel Occasions Introductions Book Reviews The uncollected stories are great, while most of the early stories aren't. The book reviews and introductions are interesting. I will remember Carver most for his writing, like I do Patrick O'Brian, and to a degree, Mark Helprin. Update: A few days after writing the above, I watched a 2019 interview with Mark Helprin during which he quoted Carver and during which he also commented he didn't like Carver (they had met). He didn't like his writing, and he especially didn't like what Carver did to his family.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Peyton Van amburgh

    Fun read for the Carver superfan. I sort of got the impression that the "newly discovered" stories were most likely stories Carver didn't want published, either cause they were somewhat similar in backdrop (many are about a newly sober person, trying to reconfigure their life) or cause they don't feel as complete as the other published stories. The early stories are also pretty weird to read as Carver hadn't fully developed his style yet. The introductions and book reviews are pretty strange to Fun read for the Carver superfan. I sort of got the impression that the "newly discovered" stories were most likely stories Carver didn't want published, either cause they were somewhat similar in backdrop (many are about a newly sober person, trying to reconfigure their life) or cause they don't feel as complete as the other published stories. The early stories are also pretty weird to read as Carver hadn't fully developed his style yet. The introductions and book reviews are pretty strange to read as well. Ultimately, even if a lot of this feels like they were scraping the bottom of the barrel for one final book, it illuminates Carver's thoughts on writing and life. The final piece, a book review on two Hemingway biographies, is a perfect way to end the book. Carver writes about Hemingway with admiration, but also as a cautionary tale, a sad ending for a man who's demons very clearly resembled his own, which makes the piece a poignant and empathetic tribute.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Haines

    The essays and uncollected stories in this are more than worth the complete read. There are some really beautiful pieces in here, particularly if you’re already familiar with, and an appreciator of, Raymond Carver. Some of the Early fiction that’s included isn’t great, & I didn’t care much about most of the book reviews. (I did write a few of the titles down, however; just the ones that interested me from Carver’s descriptions. This was actually a cool benefit of the book as one big piece: readin The essays and uncollected stories in this are more than worth the complete read. There are some really beautiful pieces in here, particularly if you’re already familiar with, and an appreciator of, Raymond Carver. Some of the Early fiction that’s included isn’t great, & I didn’t care much about most of the book reviews. (I did write a few of the titles down, however; just the ones that interested me from Carver’s descriptions. This was actually a cool benefit of the book as one big piece: reading about the authors that Carver likes and writing them down if unfamiliar.) But wow, some of the essays and unreleased short stories are really outstanding; “Fires” was my favorite essay, and my favorite of the stories was “Kindling,” though I liked all of the unreleased stories very much. All and all, if you’re already a Carver fan, just pick this one up. It’s not a great place to start, but it will certainly enhance an already established appreciation.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie G.

    I read this before - and I picked it up again, with a feeling of deja vu since I hadn't remembered picking up this volume- and what sticks out to me is o chose the wrong book. This is essays and intros and interviews. But maybe I had changed as well- his writing doesn't affect me like it used to- it's still quiet and powerful. But his descriptions of women are off putting and the more I read the more misogynistic it feels- maybe outdated? But at a time I felt this was very powerful. Maybe the tim I read this before - and I picked it up again, with a feeling of deja vu since I hadn't remembered picking up this volume- and what sticks out to me is o chose the wrong book. This is essays and intros and interviews. But maybe I had changed as well- his writing doesn't affect me like it used to- it's still quiet and powerful. But his descriptions of women are off putting and the more I read the more misogynistic it feels- maybe outdated? But at a time I felt this was very powerful. Maybe the times have changed, maybe I've changed, but sadly this was not what it once was

  11. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    It's touching how Carver looked up to Leonard Gardner when he was in his community college creative writing class, a guy with a flat top and unpublished novels he carried around in boxes. Gardner gave Carver the key to his office so he could write on Sundays and on those Sundays he would see Gardner arrive with his wife through the window and watch them enter the church across the street. It's touching how Carver looked up to Leonard Gardner when he was in his community college creative writing class, a guy with a flat top and unpublished novels he carried around in boxes. Gardner gave Carver the key to his office so he could write on Sundays and on those Sundays he would see Gardner arrive with his wife through the window and watch them enter the church across the street.

  12. 5 out of 5

    V.M.

    It's probably pointless to say that this collection is for completists only--unpublished or early stories, essays, and reviews that would be of little interest to a new reader. The new stories fit well among his Cathedral/Elephant stories. They lack some of the edge of those collections, but they are unfinished, after all. It's probably pointless to say that this collection is for completists only--unpublished or early stories, essays, and reviews that would be of little interest to a new reader. The new stories fit well among his Cathedral/Elephant stories. They lack some of the edge of those collections, but they are unfinished, after all.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    Parts of this book are like VH1's Behind the Music, except it's about Raymond Carver instead of Aerosmith. Parts of this book are like VH1's Behind the Music, except it's about Raymond Carver instead of Aerosmith.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Andy Larter

    Worth reading for the eponymous story, one of Carver's best. Worth reading for the eponymous story, one of Carver's best.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mandy

    I liked the first half.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    This is a collection gathered after Carver's passing. I don't feel qualified to review this collection but my opinion is that, it is amazing. Amazing in it's content of writing, the short stories once again have me shaking my head in how Carver displays human behavior. Also included are his thoughts on the practice of writing, his influences, mentors and the responsibilities of serving as an editor. Last up are several book reviews of up and coming or prominent writers up to around the 1970's & This is a collection gathered after Carver's passing. I don't feel qualified to review this collection but my opinion is that, it is amazing. Amazing in it's content of writing, the short stories once again have me shaking my head in how Carver displays human behavior. Also included are his thoughts on the practice of writing, his influences, mentors and the responsibilities of serving as an editor. Last up are several book reviews of up and coming or prominent writers up to around the 1970's & 80's and biographies of Hemingway.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    A miscellaneous collection of writings. Some short stories, old and new/unpublished, but only a few are good. And we get Raymond Carver's -pretty straightfoward - thoughts about writing, which is nice, but there are no big surprises or insightful ideas here. And I could have done without his reviews and forewords to other collections of American short stories, but I guess they were thrown in to give this collection some heft. Strictly for the aficionados, this one. A miscellaneous collection of writings. Some short stories, old and new/unpublished, but only a few are good. And we get Raymond Carver's -pretty straightfoward - thoughts about writing, which is nice, but there are no big surprises or insightful ideas here. And I could have done without his reviews and forewords to other collections of American short stories, but I guess they were thrown in to give this collection some heft. Strictly for the aficionados, this one.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Raphaela

    Some of the essays at the end of this book are hard to sink your teeth into if you're not familiar with the source material Carver is talking about, but his thoughts on writing and more personal essays about his life are pretty interesting and kind of soothing, in a way, in contrast to his stories, which often have a sense of dread or menace hanging over them. Not that that's a bad thing. The stories in this collection are pretty subtle, which is Carver-esque, but no dead bodies in the river. Th Some of the essays at the end of this book are hard to sink your teeth into if you're not familiar with the source material Carver is talking about, but his thoughts on writing and more personal essays about his life are pretty interesting and kind of soothing, in a way, in contrast to his stories, which often have a sense of dread or menace hanging over them. Not that that's a bad thing. The stories in this collection are pretty subtle, which is Carver-esque, but no dead bodies in the river. This book mainly made me want to go read or re-read one of his story collections.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Joeey

    In a nutshell: a benchmark.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Felipe CZ

    I didn't like this one. Boring for me. I believe they were not finished, but they are about infidelity, letting go and moving on. Not my kind of topic, and not my kind of reading experience. I didn't like this one. Boring for me. I believe they were not finished, but they are about infidelity, letting go and moving on. Not my kind of topic, and not my kind of reading experience.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Liam Lalor

    The smoothest of prose; like mild air — in, out, then in again, gladly.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Gracie Vega

    Great story; I love how it was given. Good job writer! If you have some great stories like this one, you can publish it on Novel Star, just submit your story to [email protected]

  23. 5 out of 5

    Realini

    What Would You Like to See by Raymond Carver Another version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at: - https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list... There is one familiar theme in this account: - Alcoholism Raymond Carver has struggled with this addiction and hence quite a few of his personages face the issue. In fact, I was just looking through a good article in The Guardian that names the Bad Raymond the one who drank too much. The Good Raymond is the one who defeated alcohol, wrote a What Would You Like to See by Raymond Carver Another version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at: - https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list... There is one familiar theme in this account: - Alcoholism Raymond Carver has struggled with this addiction and hence quite a few of his personages face the issue. In fact, I was just looking through a good article in The Guardian that names the Bad Raymond the one who drank too much. The Good Raymond is the one who defeated alcohol, wrote about that plague in such a way that many avoided it after reading … I think… The article is to be found at: - https://www.theguardian.com/books/200... And the fact is that they claim to have the whole story in a “world exclusive”… This Guardian online page claims that this is “the last of the last stories” and it was written at about the time when Raymond Carver was turning from “Bad to Good” And this is how it starts: - “We were to have dinner with Pete Petersen and his wife, Betty, the night before our departure. Pete owned a restaurant that overlooked the highway and the Pacific Ocean.” Sarah is the name of the narrator’s wife and they have a daughter Cindy, who - “was living with several other young people in a house on several rocky acres of ground outside of Ukiah, in Mendocino County. They kept bees and raised goats and chickens and sold eggs and goat's milk and jars of honey. The women worked on patchwork quilts and blankets, too, and sold those when they could. But I don't want to call it a commune” They worry about her when a mass suicide took place in British Guyana, as a consequence of “social conformity”, as explained by the scholar, psychologist and expert Robert Cialdini in his masterpiece Influence. The hero and Sarah have rented a place from Pete and both the landlord and his wife are sorry to see them go. This is somewhat unusual, because the relationship between home owner and tenants is not always so good… I am a landlord and the experience accumulated so far is not hideous, but neither is it of the sort that has the guests invited over for dinner. At the special soiree, they talk about all sorts of subjects, including travel destinations around the world… Hence- What Would you Like to See? As they prepare a screen and slides from various places that they traveled to, this is what they ask their guests. They have been to Alaska and Lebanon among other locations in the world and Pete recalls how impressed he was: - During the war, I went there with the commercial navy and I promised myself that I would get back They also talk about the salmon that is on the table and is part of a large amount that Pete has acquired for his restaurant… Alas, something goes wrong with the generator and a lot of the salmon is spoiled.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Realini

    Call If You Need Me by Raymond Carver The story of Raymond Carver is conditioning the reader for a happy ride: Palo Alto, The Californian Coast, the beach. Words create Worlds as Tal Ben-Shahar keeps saying at Harvard. With the words from “Call if You Need Me” our mindset becomes positive. Tests have been made and they showed that words used in soccer, or Florida (to my surprise) create a framework which makes us think and act in strange ways. “Nancy was a tall, long legged woman, with brown hair…” Call If You Need Me by Raymond Carver The story of Raymond Carver is conditioning the reader for a happy ride: Palo Alto, The Californian Coast, the beach. Words create Worlds as Tal Ben-Shahar keeps saying at Harvard. With the words from “Call if You Need Me” our mindset becomes positive. Tests have been made and they showed that words used in soccer, or Florida (to my surprise) create a framework which makes us think and act in strange ways. “Nancy was a tall, long legged woman, with brown hair…” there’s a character to make your reading even more pleasant, although I may be wrong. The story is more complex than that. The two married people who are at the center of the tale have marital problems, which can be resolved, the husband aka narrator tells us. Husband and wife cheat on each other, but agree to avoid contacting the other parties involved, in order to resolve their issues. I wonder what the verdict of John Gottman would be in their case. He is a renowned specialist, who can tell after five minutes if a marriage will work or break apart, with an accuracy rate of 95%. He is the author of a classic: Seven Principles to Make Marriage Work- it makes for interesting reading, if you want your relationship, affair to work, I’d say it’s not just for a married couple. Among the many interesting things we can learn from the good psychology books I remember the revelation that an affair is not the beginning of the end, a sign that the marriage is falling apart, but a symptom, an occurrence which takes place when the marriage is already in dire straits, it is not provoking a union to fail, but it gets going once the couple had drifted apart. One superb (this is an excellent word, which Emy keeps using- with wonderful results, remember? Words create Worlds) image is that of a group of horses coming on the porch of the house where two of our characters spend a few days. I think I can imagine what a beautiful sight and exquisite moment that is, even if I was thrown off a horse once and felt terrible for some time… What a fabulous surprise: “white big horses in the front yard…My God! They’re beautiful! We’ll never see anything like this again” I bet they were beautiful and unique. Silliness is present in the story- Nancy and the narrator go looking for a dog, even if they do not know what to do with it back in the city and the search for a pet goes nowhere- but life has that side- “learn to fail, or fail to learn” – to refer to the same wise guy, Shahar. Trying to change tack, I will recommend some short stories, which will take very little of your time and might make you happier. This one lasts 27 minutes, as an audiobook reading, and will be posted in our Happiness is a Choice…Make it – on facebook. And hey! Call if You need Me!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Steven

    This is No Heroics, Please: Uncollected Writings with the addition of the five previously unpublished stories that came out in 1999 and 2000. Along with “Kindling” (which is one of my all-time favorite Carver stories - a story that belongs in the same sequence with "Chef's House" and "Where I'm Calling From" - and it is really a shame that "Kindling" didn't come out at the same time a those prize winning stories because it is their equal) and “Dreams,” “Vandals” seems the most finished of the ne This is No Heroics, Please: Uncollected Writings with the addition of the five previously unpublished stories that came out in 1999 and 2000. Along with “Kindling” (which is one of my all-time favorite Carver stories - a story that belongs in the same sequence with "Chef's House" and "Where I'm Calling From" - and it is really a shame that "Kindling" didn't come out at the same time a those prize winning stories because it is their equal) and “Dreams,” “Vandals” seems the most finished of the new stories, it has one of those great Carver endings. Carver was probably done with them. “Call If You Need Me” and “What Would You Like To See” don’t seem done. The latter story particularly seems like an early draft, with lots of repetitions and other assorted excesses, which makes it an interesting story to study, or at least to imagine how he would have revised it. I’d put “Dreams” up there with his best stories. This was the last of three new Carver stories that Esquire published after unearthing them from the drawer of his desk eleven years after he died. The dreams in this story are used with great effect. The narrator professes his inability to interpret them, leaving it up to the reader. Then there is the great section where the narrator first talks to Mary Rice, and that is followed by his wife having a dream where he doesn’t say anything to her. A little obvious, but I think it works because the narrator misses the significance. And then, later, after the incident at the ambulance, the wife doesn’t tell him her dream, and closes her dream notebook when he comes into the room. Again, obvious, and again I think it works because the narrator doesn’t get it. The fire aftermath scene is just incredible, particularly after the setup of showing what kind of mother Mary is. The ending is such a brief moment of affirmation, and so true to the small steps it takes to overcome trauma. I wish we had more of this later Carver, but this is all we got.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    This book is a made up of previously uncollected short stories, intros and essays written by Carver, and book reviews he penned as well. My favourite of all the short stories is the title one, "Call If You Need Me," in which a middle-aged couple decides to move to an isolated little beach house in Northern California or Southern Oregon to put their marriage back together. They leave their other lovers and kids and family behind and spend just a little while together to see if things can work. I This book is a made up of previously uncollected short stories, intros and essays written by Carver, and book reviews he penned as well. My favourite of all the short stories is the title one, "Call If You Need Me," in which a middle-aged couple decides to move to an isolated little beach house in Northern California or Southern Oregon to put their marriage back together. They leave their other lovers and kids and family behind and spend just a little while together to see if things can work. I think I was drawn to this story because right now I'm feeling a serious need to escape school and responsibility, and, ultimately, there is something romantic about such an escape. But, as with other Carver stories, this little tiny moment is imbued with a feeling of deep mystery and foreboding. A generator breaks down. Fresh fish goes rotten in the freezer. Carver gives these little occurrences space and as a result they feel much bigger than they would in the words of another storyteller. They feel dangerous. In addition to the new-ish stories, the other gems in this book are Carver's essays on writing. The essay in which he names his children as the biggest influence on his practice is touching and heartbreaking. A good book to pick up in the fall.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Danger Kallisti

    I don’t think it would be fair of me to judge Carver by this book alone, and I haven’t ever read him before. Published posthumously by his wife, it groups together several unpublished stories, a novel fragment, and far too many essays and book reviews. The stories were, by and large, beautiful, and quite literally close to home for me. He knows how to tell an honest story about heartbreak, alcoholism, and the Northwest, and since my life up to this point has been one of those, I certainly can’t I don’t think it would be fair of me to judge Carver by this book alone, and I haven’t ever read him before. Published posthumously by his wife, it groups together several unpublished stories, a novel fragment, and far too many essays and book reviews. The stories were, by and large, beautiful, and quite literally close to home for me. He knows how to tell an honest story about heartbreak, alcoholism, and the Northwest, and since my life up to this point has been one of those, I certainly can’t just brush them off. On the other hand, the essays and reviews wore on me. If read one at a time over a long period, they would be powerful and sincere. Reading them all at once allows the reader too good a chance to notice repetition, bordering on pedantry. Overall, I wouldn’t say it was the best introduction to an obviously talented writer. The ways of the public library are mysterious and strange, however, and it’s not the right of mere mortals to judge them. Pick this book up if you’re a Carver fan looking to learn more about his life and thought processes, but if you get the chance, read one of his earlier short-story collections first; they seem like a better bet.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas A.

    "Emptiness is the beginning of all things" -from his Uncollected Short Story "Kindling" Carver recieved a letter from Chekov - one that inspired Carver to write the stories he wrote: "Friend, you don't have to write about extrodinary people who accomplish extrodinary and memorable deeds" -Chekov My interperation of this quote is life isn't composed of the "extrodinary" but rather the "ordinary". No matter what accomplishments make up the stature of an individual - winning a superbowl ring or puttin "Emptiness is the beginning of all things" -from his Uncollected Short Story "Kindling" Carver recieved a letter from Chekov - one that inspired Carver to write the stories he wrote: "Friend, you don't have to write about extrodinary people who accomplish extrodinary and memorable deeds" -Chekov My interperation of this quote is life isn't composed of the "extrodinary" but rather the "ordinary". No matter what accomplishments make up the stature of an individual - winning a superbowl ring or putting the life of an adopted child on track - life is full of stories - rather life is full of life - as ridiculous as it sounds. There is also a phenomenal essay titled "Fires". Carver talks about the meaning of influences in his own life. I highly reccommend it. It will make you think twice about who/what your own influences are - or claim to be. Read it and we can talk.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Christian

    Well, it's a mixed bag. Some of the stories are great (Dreams, Kindling in the group of new ones, The hair in the group of "only published in magazines). Some of the essays are beautiful and moving (My father's live, On writing). But the rest is just there for completeness. For example, the prologues and the reviews read in sequence get a bit repetitive and plain. Still, Carver is such a great writer that a turn of a phrase in a boring story can sometimes redeem it. My conclusion is this: he was Well, it's a mixed bag. Some of the stories are great (Dreams, Kindling in the group of new ones, The hair in the group of "only published in magazines). Some of the essays are beautiful and moving (My father's live, On writing). But the rest is just there for completeness. For example, the prologues and the reviews read in sequence get a bit repetitive and plain. Still, Carver is such a great writer that a turn of a phrase in a boring story can sometimes redeem it. My conclusion is this: he was a unique, gifted writer whose influence is huge and growing. But he did work a lot on rewriting and making sure his stories were polished. When you read what he didn't publish you notice those hard edges and loose threads (which is good if you are interested in the act of writing, but it doesn't make a great read if you are reading for the story itself). I would advise people new to Carver to start elsewhere, of course.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dave N

    I can't say that the short stories included here shed any light on Carver as an author, but if you enjoyed his previous work, I can't imagine you wouldn't appreciate a few more stories to add to your collection. However, where this book really come in handy is in seeing Carver's non-fiction and how he applied such a similar writing style to things like introductions to collections of poetry and stories, as well as to reviews of books. Sometimes austere and sometimes whimsical, these pieces not o I can't say that the short stories included here shed any light on Carver as an author, but if you enjoyed his previous work, I can't imagine you wouldn't appreciate a few more stories to add to your collection. However, where this book really come in handy is in seeing Carver's non-fiction and how he applied such a similar writing style to things like introductions to collections of poetry and stories, as well as to reviews of books. Sometimes austere and sometimes whimsical, these pieces not only detail Carver's opinions on writing from a technical perspective, but also give us his personal thoughts on what made a story great. It just feels good to hear him gush over other authors and their work. There's something cathartic, even for we readers viewing everything twice removed. I'll admit that he gets repetitive at times, and I couldn't get through some of his more long-winded speeches, but overall I relished this book.

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