He has been called a chronicler of blue-collar despair. He led a relatively private life, much of it spent trying to raise cash via odd jobs and the writing-conference circuit, and died from the cancerous effects of excessive drinking and smoking. Raymond Carver (1938–1988) is a fascinating figure more for what went on in his imagination, as it registered the dynamics of couples' relationships amid the counterculture, than for his messy life. He came from the lower-middle class of Yakima, Wash., and was a father before he turned 21. Maryann Burk, his first wife, had her own measure of success as a memoirist, but as the Carvers' lives came to resemble his stories, they divorced. Carver soon found his second great love, Tess Gallagher. It's ironic that the master of the minimalist short story has his own life recounted in such whopping detail by short story writer and essayist Sklenicka. Earnest and carefully researched, this biography interestingly recounts Carver's working relationship with editor Gordon Lish and other publishing figures. But the writing is most compelling in an epilogue that highlights posthumous legal disputes showing Gallagher maintaining an iron grip on Carver's growing legacy and reputation. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"Raymond Carver's stories and poems are still very much alive, and thanks to Carol Sklenicka's biography, Ray the writer comes to life again. This is a remarkable book, very thorough and deeply moving. I knew Ray, and now I know him better than ever." -- Richard Cortez Day, author of When in Florence and Something for the Journey
"If his stories, told in a clipped, brusque voice, help us better understand life in all its loveliness and anguish, then this biography does the same for the man behind them, only with a shout -- full-throated with the voices of those who knew him. Meticulously researched, unflinchingly honest, and always compelling. What we talk about when we talk about Carver will forever be defined by this poignant monument of a book." -- Benjamin Percy, author of Refresh, Refresh and The Language of Elk
I became interested in Raymond Carver when I read some of his poetry, especially Late Fragment. I found his poetry direct, accessible, moving and down to earth about real human... Read morePublished 5 months ago by MARTIN DAVIS
Though I am not a fan of the capital-Biography tome method, expansive linearly from birth to death, I do readily acknowledge how this one denotes full respect of Carver as a... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Mr. Richard K. Weems
One of the greatest American writers ever... You CAN'T GO WRONG WITH CARVER!Published 8 months ago by Todd March
I have read many types of biographies. This particular one is informative, but not particularly engaging. Read morePublished 10 months ago by dominika
I was excited to read about one of my favorite short story writers, but found this book awful. It reads like someone cut and pasted quotes from stories, opinions, and people to... Read morePublished 16 months ago by christoph j dangwillo
RAY LIVED NEAR ME AT SKY RANCH IN PORT ANGELES.
I KNEW RAY AND TESS INFORMALLY.
Beautifully written, deft and clearly pictured. Tho' my reading has been put on hold, the early chapters are already a part of me.Published 22 months ago by David Druven
Raymond Carver established a literary reputation for innovative, terse narratives of twentieth century suburban anomie based on his personal experience as an alienated alcoholic. Read morePublished on July 1, 2013 by A Customer
Carver is a major Twentieth Century story teller: Up there with John Updike, only more bare bones. He knows how to hit you in the knee in just the right place with the doctor's... Read morePublished on March 8, 2013 by MD