Tim O’Brien once said of Raymond Carver, ‘he uses the English language like a whittler’s knife, carving stark and unadorned prose-objects, paring away everything but the very core of human emotion’.
Beginners is Carver’s most famous collection of short stories – What We Talk About When We Talk About Love – before this whittling process had begun.It is the unedited version of the masterpiece which would be cut by almost fifty percent by Carver’s editor and mentor, Gordon Lish, before its original publication in 1981 and which would go on to become one of the most influential pieces of modern literature.
Carver’s preoccupation with the marrow of things is just as present in these longer stories. A young girl, dancing with her lover amidst the debris of an older man’s life, has her first forewarning of the dangers of adulthood, and is filled with an ‘unbearable happiness’.
- Publication Date:
- 01 / 10 / 2009