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Here is the book that became What We Talk about When We Talk about Love before Gordon Lish (Carver's editor) took his (admittedly artful) chainsaw to it. Before it was edited down, Carver warned Lish: "I will die if you make these edits." Lish made them. Carver lived. And thank God, so too did Beginners, Carver's original version of a stunning collection.
Here is the original manuscript of Raymond Carver’s seminal 1981 collection, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. Carver is one of the most celebrated short-story writers in American literature—his style is both instantly recognizable and hugely influential—and the pieces in What We Talk About . . ., which portray the gritty loves and lives of the American working class, are counted among the foundation stones of the contemporary short story. In this unedited text, we gain insight into the process of a great writer. These expansive stories illuminate the many dimensions of Carver’s style, and are indispensable to our understanding of his legacy.
Text established by William L. Stull and Maureen P. Carroll
About the Author
Raymond Carver was born in Clatskanie, Oregon, in 1938. His first collection of stories, Will You Please Be Quiet, Please (a National Book Award nominee in 1977), was followed by What We Talk About When We Talk About Love,Cathedral (nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 1984), and Where I'm Calling From in 1988, when he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He died August 2, 1988, shortly after completing the poems of A New Path to the Waterfall.
William L. Stull is a professor of English at the University of Hartford. Maureen P. Carroll is an adjunct professor of humanities at the University of Hartford and a practicing attorney. For more than two decades, they have published numerous essays and books on the work of Raymond Carver.
“One of the great short story writers of our time—of any time.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Carver is a writer of astonishing compassion and honesty. . . . His eye is so clear, it almost breaks your heart.” —The Washington Post Book World