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Beginners: The Original Version of What We Talk about When We Talk about Love Paperback – October 1, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Beginners is unlikely to replace What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. Instead, it will be in dialogue with it, because the story has no end: there will always be afterthoughts" -- Sarah Churchwell Guardian "Hopefully, thanks to Gallagher, every small, vital nuance, every moving observation, each choice of word as Carver wrote it, is there to be seen; that is why Carver cared enough to begin setting it right, and others have now finished the task" -- Eileen Battersby Irish Times "An extraordinary book, more generous and rambling in tone than its distilled counterpart" -- Tim Adams Observer "The most interesting book of the year" Sunday Telegraph "an extraordinary book, and probably the most influential story collection of the past 30 years" -- Tim Adams Observer

About the Author

Raymond Carver was born in Clatskanie, Oregon, in 1938. He grew up in Yakima, Washington; graduated from Humboldt State College in northern California; and attended the Iowa Writers' Workshop. He published his first short story in 1960, and his poetry and fiction appeared in periodicals and anthologies over the next two decades. Carver's stories reached a wider audience with the 1976 publication of Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? With the appearance of What We Talk About When We Talk About Love in 1981 his writing received international recognition. Gordon Lish served as editor of both collections, but he surprised Carver by cutting the original manuscript of What We Talk About by more than half before its publication. Carver had dedicated the book to his fellow writer, companion, and future wife, Tess Gallagher, promising her that he would one day republish his stories at full length. Beginners restores the seventeen stories from What We Talk About to the forms in which he submitted them to his editor.All but four had previously appeared in literary magazines. Carver went on to publish two more collections of stories, Cathedral and Elephant, each of which departed from the astringent 'minimalism' of What We Talk About and developed the nuanced empathy and expansiveness that was emerging in Beginners. His honors include one of the first Mildred and Harold Strauss Living Awards, nominations for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, and Poetry magazine's Levinson Prize. In 1988 he was inducted into the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree by the University of Hartford. Raymond Carver died on 2 August 1988 at age fifty, shortly after completing a book of poems published posthumously as A New Path to Waterfall. He was acclaimed 'America's Chekhov' in the Sunday Times after his death. Tess Gallagher (born 1943) is an acclaimed poet, essayist, author and playwright. Her honors include a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, two National Endowment for the Arts awards, and the Maxine Cushing Gray Foundation Award. She met Raymond Carver at a writers' conference in 1978, and the couple were married in 1988, six weeks prior to his death. As his will directed, she assumed the management of his literary estate. She published five Carver stories posthumously in Call If You Need Me, and successfully campaigned for the republishing of What We Talk About When We Talk About Love as Beginners, in their original and intended form. She currently teaches at Bucknell University and Whitman College.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Books USA (October 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099540320
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099540328
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #921,583 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Raymond Carver was born in Clatskanie, Oregon, in 1938. His father was a saw-mill worker and his mother was a waitress and clerk. He married early and for years writing had to come second to earning a living for his young family. Despite, small-press publication, it was not until Will You Please Be Quiet Please? appeared in 1976 that his work began to reach a wider audience. This was the year in which he gave up alcohol, which had contributed to the collapse of his marriage. In 1977 he met the writer Tess Gallagher, with whom he shared the last eleven years of his life. During this prolific period he wrote three collections of stories, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, Cathedral and Elephant. Fires, a collection of essays, poems and stories, appeared in 1985, followed by three further collections of poetry. In 1988 he completed the poetry collection A New Path to the Waterfall.

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S. Taylor on August 22, 2013
Format: Paperback
These are the stories of What We Talk About When We Talk About Love before they were edited by Gordon Lish. Many of them are VERY different. It's a matter of taste, but I think that you, like me, may find that you like some stories better in their original versions and some better in the edited, published versions. Either way, this volume, Beginners, is unadulterated Carver. WWTAWWTAL is more like a Carver/Lish collaboration.

FYI - This collection is included in the Library of America Raymond Carver volume. If you're really into Carver, I highly recommend it.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Smallridge on May 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
Stories that are sparse and haunting -- this originally restored collection will stay with a reader long after the final page.
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