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In this biography of the iconic literary figure the London "Times" called the American Chekhov, Sklenicka penetrates the myths and controversies surrounding Raymond Carver''s life and career. b&w photographs.
"A rich portrait of a master of the American short story....Sklenicka spoke with nearly everyone on Carver's orbit, making the book a kind of history of American fiction in the '70s and '80s....[This is t]he epic biography that Carver deserves." (starred review)
"A riveting and essential piece in the grand puzzle of American literature....Sklenicka deciphers many sensitive aspects of Carver's roller-coaster adventures while offering fascinating analysis of how he 'milled his life into fiction.' " (starred review)
"It's as a chronicle of Carver's growth as a writer that Sklenicka's book is invaluable....Although [she] exhibits something like awe for Carver the writer, and clearly understands the warping influence alcohol had on his life, she is almost non-judgmental when it comes to Carver the nasty drunk and ungrateful...husband."
"RAYMOND CARVER: A WRITER'S LIFE is a sober, sensitive portrait of an often drunken and complex man. Sklenicka clearly adores Carver's work, but does a fine job of portraying all his poignant contradictions: He's funny and abusive. Insecure and dogged. Nervous and passionate. She's careful to distinguish the man from his writing. Even when she draws parallels between his life and his fiction, it's to illuminate his creative process."
"RAYMOND CARVER: A WRITER'S LIFE...is not merely a great biography, but often an astute critical assessment of Carver's writing as well....Sklenicka goes well beyond connecting dots between incidents in Carver's life and his stories: She analyzes the connection as a way of understanding the man and his work."
From the Publisher
Born in 1938, the son of a mill worker, Raymond Carver was determined to become a writer from an early age, but life--in the form of a marriage at the age of 19, a child, a drinking problem, and numerous low-paying jobs--got in the way. These subjects--the minutia and trials of American lower-class life--became the material for his short stories, and his devastating minimalist style eventually made Carver famous in the 1970s and 1980s. He died from lung cancer at the age of 50, but his stories are still considered some of the finest American short stories and have spawned legions of admirers and imitators. Carol Sklenicka's extensively researched biography of Carver paints a vivid portrait of Carver's life: his intense relationship with his two wives, his contentious experiences with editor Gordon Lish (who heavily edited Carver's work), his battles with alcoholism (and his eventual, and lasting, recovery), and his deep dedication to the craft of writing. Selected by the New York Times Book Review as one of the 10 Best Books of 2009.
A profile of the late influential short-story master analyzes the myths and controversies attributed to his character, drawing on archival research and extensive interviews with friends, families, and colleagues to cover his struggles with alcohol, the role of a zealous editor in shaping his first collections, and his ability to portray the challenges of everyday people.
Editors Note 2
The product of the author's decades-long cross-country search of archives and her extensive interviews with Carver's relatives, friends and colleagues, an informative memoir provides the definitive story of an iconic literary figure, whose tales focused on ordinary people and their troubles brought on by poverty, drunkenness and embittered marriages.