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No Heroics, Please: Uncollected Writings Paperback – June 9, 1992

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This ragtag collection features juvenilia (four short stories written during Carver's undergraduate years and a fifth composed shortly afterward), poetry from the author's small press books, the fragment of a novel, essays and other miscellany. The early fiction holds virtually no literary merit; the poetry is often either derivative or superficial ("He knew he was / in trouble when, / in the middle / of the poem, / he found himself / reaching / for his thesaurus / and then / Webster's / in that order"). The book reviews (with the exception of a thoughtful review of the Selected Letters of Sherwood Anderson ) seem dated. A commencement address, delivered shortly before Carver died in 1988, has a wistfully solemn quality that will seem odd to readers of Carver's elegant but audacious short fiction. In the introduction to Fires: Essays, Poems, Stories reprinted here, Carver remarks on the importance to him of the process of rewriting: "I think by nature I'm more deliberate and careful than I am spontaneous . . . ." This collection of mostly unpolished odds and ends does a disservice to a master craftsman.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"A writer of astonishing compassion and honesty."

-- Washington Post Book World"With painful, funny acuteness, Carver captures the electric currents that shoot through people's lives and singe them indelibly." -- Newsweek

"Raymond Carver's America is a place of survivors and a place of stories. He has done what many of the most gifted writers fail to do: He has invented a country of his own, like no other except that very world, as Wordsworth said, which is the world to all of us." -- The New York Times Book Review

"Carver not only enchants, he convinces." -- Time

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 239 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Contemporaries; 1st edition (June 9, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679740074
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679740070
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,948,882 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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ryan Werner on April 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
There's something encouraging about discovering the pitfalls of a figure previously thought to be invincible. Upon reading through Raymond Carver's uncollected writings, No Heroics, Please, I was thrilled to not be enjoying myself. "Furious Seasons" is bad mediocre Faulkner, while "The Aficionados" is a rib on Hemingway bullfighting obsession. "Poseiden and Company" is nearly pointless. "Bright Red Apples" is like something I'd write if I was into ripping off Flannery O'Connor and ending on a melodramatic note. The best fiction here is "The Hair," and even that is just an uneventful sign of what was to come. The segment of the novel is all right, but there's no way he could have sustained that for longer than 20-30 pages, especially being the revision-hound that he was. If these early stories were all I had ever read, I certainly wouldn't have read more.

Of course, lots more came. Genius stuff, too. So I don't have room to talk, but it's like I've watched a home movie of "giant's first steps" and seen him fall down a bunch. Surely guys like Carver come out of the womb with a furrowed brow and a knack for prose. Or so I thought.

I focused on the fiction present in this collection, though the poetry is less-than-stellar as well. Carver's poetry isn't that great to begin with, falling into the same traps as Bukowski's poetry, where the poem is just a shortchanged story with line-breaks. The book reviews aren't that good either, as his summaries give away too much (I started skipping the summary and just reading his thoughts) and his opinions--while being well thought-out and written--are essentially underwhelming (something I'd know all about).
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lotan Sharon on June 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
I cannot stess enough what a great poet (and short stories writer) Raymond Carver is. In his minimalist writing style and his hidden way of dealing with exsitential issues, he earned his way to be my favorite (and nearly only) male poet. His poetry will not intimmidate those who are not so keen on poetry, and at the same time will touch everybody deeply. The poetry in this book, isn't trying to be anything grand or anything it simply isn't, it's just the plain truth, with no masks.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is indispensible (see above) for anyone who appreciates Carver's work.
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