Raymond Carver

A Writer's Life

By Carol Sklenicka
(Scribner, Hardcover, 9780743262453, 592pp.)

Publication Date: November 24, 2009

Other Editions of This Title: Paperback

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Description

The first biography of america’s best-known short story writer of the late twentieth century.

The London Times called Raymond Carver "the American Chekhov." The beloved, mischievous, but more modest short-story writer and poet thought of himself as "a lucky man" whose renunciation of alcohol allowed him to live "ten years longer than I or anyone expected."

In that last decade, Carver became the leading figure in a resurgence of the short story. Readers embraced his precise, sad, often funny and poignant tales of ordinary people and their troubles: poverty, drunkenness, embittered marriages, difficulties brought on by neglect rather than intent. Since Carver died in 1988 at age fifty, his legacy has been mythologized by admirers and tainted by controversy over a zealous editor’s shaping of his first two story collections.

Carol Sklenicka penetrates the myths and controversies. Her decade-long search of archives across the United States and her extensive interviews with Carver’s relatives, friends, and colleagues have enabled her to write the definitive story of the iconic literary figure. Laced with the voices of people who knew Carver intimately, her biography offers a fresh appreciation of his work and an unbiased, vivid portrait of the writer.

 

 




About the Author

Carol Sklenicka grew up in central California during the 1960s. She attended college in San Luis Obispo and taught high school in Oxnard before completing a Ph.D. at Washington University in St. Louis. She has published short stories, essays, and a study of D. H. Lawrence. She lives with her husband, poet R.M. Ryan, near the Russian River in California.

 

 




NPR
Thursday, Dec 3, 2009

Correspondent Susan Stamberg gathers recommendations for the season's best books from booksellers Rona Brinlee, Daniel Goldin and Lucia Silva. Their selections include comics about philosophy, novels about building families, and a box set that dives into the process of writing. More at NPR.org

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NPR
Friday, Nov 27, 2009

When writer Raymond Carver died in 1988, the Times of London christened him â??The American Chekov.â?? The epitaph has stuck. Author Susan Jane Gilman has the review of a new, 578-page biography entitled â??Raymond Carver: A Writerâ??s Life.â?? More at NPR.org

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Praise For Raymond Carver

"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

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