The last story collection published during Carver's life (he died in 1988) contains most of his greatest hits from his earlier books, as well as seven stories that hadn't been collected up to that point. The breadth of the collection makes these 37 stories an extremely complete map of Carver territory, of a particular area of America and of the specific texture of the people Carver writes about -- their difficult attempts at survival in a world where happiness does not arrive wrapped up in neat packages but comes in far more peculiar parcels, if it comes at all.
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From Publishers Weekly
The cool streamlined style of this modern master of the short story has spawned dozens of younger writers who seek to follow in Carver's footsteps. But where the Brat Pack frequently produces flat, unresonating fiction, Carver has the ability to render graceful prose from dreary, commonplace, scraping-the-bottom human misery. This collection consists of 30 stories selected from four previous volumes, and seven new tales. Appearing in order of original publication, they reflect Carver's developmentfrom 1963 to the present. We meet many of his characters just as something dear to them is slipping away. Jobs, cars, the affection of a spouse or child, the routine of lifeall can be lost. Even in the more upbeat stories, a narrator recalls a happy occasion that, in retrospect, marked a change for the worse, or a high point in a life since gone sour. In Carver's world, ashtrays overflow, wives are usually ex-, and drinkers are drunks. Seedy and dishonest characters are glimpsed in the process of once again doing the wrong thing. One of the new stories, "The Errand," which is in part an account of Chekhov's death, is offered as a tip of the hat to the great short story writer. Even here, with more affecting and finished prose than ever before, Carver's rendering gives us all the intimacy of a medical chart. Aptly named, he is a carver of flesh from the bone. Paperback rights to Vintage.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.