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Collected Stories

4.62 of 5 stars 4.62  ·  rating details  ·  1,108 ratings  ·  73 reviews
Carver transformed the American short story in the 1970s and 80s with spare, intense, often disturbing dramas. Gathering for the first time all Carver's stories, this volume provides the first comprehensive overview of Carver's career.
Hardcover, 1017 pages
Published August 20th 2009 by Library of America (first published 2006)
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Comprehensive collection. Most notably includes both original and severely edited versions of What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. It's fascinating to see how Carver's editor influenced if not helped to create the style that won Carver such critical acclaim. At the time Carver didn't appreciate the red lining that, in some cases, cut/changed more than two-thirds of a story. It's fun to read then original and edited versions side by side.

I own about a dozen Library of America Collections a
I'm a fan of horror stories. I'm also a fan of literary short fiction though I must admit to rarely being able to figure out what I'm supposed to glean from most stories of this kind. I reckon it's like someone who enjoys crossword puzzles or word games, the joy of decoding the secret meaning. About two years ago, I came across Ray Carver, his name meaning nothing to me up to that point. The more I read about him, the more intrigued I became. Here was a guy that was considered literary, but spok ...more
Al Riske
I've been rediscovering Raymond Carver. Turns out he wasn't a minimalist after all. Even though that's what he's famous for.

His editor, Gordon Lish, was the minimalist, slashing many of Carver's stories by half. Others by even more. This was especially true in the case of the groundbreaking collection, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.

Now, in a new volume called Raymond Carver: Collected Stories, we get to see the writer's original drafts along with the cut-down versions of those stori
This guy was a master. I only recently discovered him and I read about five stories from the compilation "Where I'm Calling From" and gave that away then went right out and bought the Collected Stories. I can't get enough Carver. His stories are often so subtle in how they hit you, but man do they linger long after the story is finished. Yeah, there are some issues with repetition with the characters and their traits/personalities. And most stories end without much resolution. Some folks seem to ...more
I knew this was going to be a 5-star book before I read it. I had already read and loved many of the stories collected here. I assumed I would love the stories that were new to me just as much. I did. I can now say that I have read every short story by Raymond Carver and I have loved each one.

The main attraction of this book is the inclusion of the manuscript form of Carver's most well-known book, "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love". We can see the stories as Carver wrote them and comp
Jennifer Campaniolo
This is a beautiful and comprehensive collection of Raymond Carver's writing. I love that it includes the original manuscript for What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, originally called Beginners. It's interesting to see the heavy hand of his editor, Gordon Lish, who was the man behind Carver's trademark minimalism. Some people prefer Carver's longer version, but I actually think the edits, though dramatic, make the stories more powerful, more mysterious.

You can't read this book all in on
I highly recommend this book.
1- the stories are great.
2- this book is especially good for anyone that is interested in writing and editing! It will be very fascinating to compare the original manuscripts of the stories (e.g. Beginners) with the edited versions (e.g. What We Talk About When We Talk About Love). The difference is rather huge because Carvers editor, Gordon Lish, deleted so extensively that sometimes less than half of the writing was left. Lish liked the bleakness, loneliness and d
Marshall Comstock
Carver is fantastic. I'm not usually a fan of books that are "Collected Works" or compendiums of an author's greatest hits, but this one is absolutely worth it if only for the fact that it contains both versions of What We Talk About When We Talk About Love: Carver's manuscript version (roughly 200 pages) and Gordon Lisch's heavily edited final version (100 pages). For those not familiar with the story, Lisch (Carver's long time editor) took unbelievable license with Carver's manuscript, often p ...more
I first came across Raymond Carver when I began to study creative writing with the Open University. I was recommended to revisit some of his short stories having not fully understood the relevance of them the first time. The usefulness of this collection is that it contains just about every short story that Carver ever published, and is a compilation of other, smaller collections.

The four stories I was recommended to read are: 'Neighbors', 'Why Don't You Dance?', 'A Small, Good Thing', and 'Cath
The true treasure in this collection is the original manuscript for "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love," which Carver had titled "Beginners." Previously unpublished you get to see the editing that Lish did, reducing stories by 10 or 15 pages at times, changing the tone and texture of Carver's work. "A Small Good Thing" being edited down to "The Bath" is a perfect example of the impact that Lish had on the writing. Both stories are strong and I am not sure which I favor more, the ambigui ...more
This is just a beautiful book, for two reasons. First, Carver finally takes his rightful place in the Library of America next to so many great American fiction writers with this nicely bound collection. Purists might argue that the he is best read from those stained vintage paperback we're used to reading him from, but that's another argument.

Second, this book ends with the original manuscript of 'What We Talk About When We Talk About Love' under it's original title, 'Beginners'. For those not f
I found myself starting this - having already read almost every single story at least twice in the collections they first appeared in - thinking I'd just dip in now and then until I found the next novel to read that would become my "main" book. But I got caught in the Carver beauty drone. Soon I was past the 800 page mark and felt like I'd sat across a greasy old table from Carver far too many late nights to count. Occasionally it would feel like you were hearing the same voice, but then there w ...more
Carver remains the person I come back to for examples of how to use all the words you need and no more. He's not perfect but he's very good. I particularly like Beginners (the manuscript version of What We Talk about When We Talk about Love).

This book moves on and off my read and reading list as I pick it up from time to time and re-read Carver when I'm looking for examples of how to do something.
Wish I could fall in with the literati and gush over The Annointed One, but reading Carver (especially the G. Lish-pared, early drivel) is a lot like eating a bowl of Grape Nuts: you do it because you think you should, not because you necessarily enjoy it. Surely I can't be the only one out there afraid to admit to this. My heretical call: Carver's over-rated by half.
Jo Barney
This book is a course in the writing of Carver, his development and changes over time, his incredible ear and eye for the lives of his characters. A book to keep always.
Rebecca Wardell
The master. I've read no one else who says so much in so few words.
Apr 19, 2015 Graziano is currently reading it
Shelves: my-library, audiobook
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The Bible
Alright, rather than reviewing Carver's works I'd review THE BOOK ITSELF. Because if you are reading this you probably have read some random story or another collection of stories before. And hopefully you liked what you read.
If so, this volume of Collected Stories should be a must-have. It comprises all of his original releases; namely Will you please be quiet, please?, What we talk about when we talk about love and Cathedral. Also stories from his collections Furious seasons and other stories,
Carver writes in an essay included in this collection of stories from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s (he died of cancer in l988 at age 50) that in stories, “there has to be tension, a sense that something is imminent, that certain things are in relentless motion, or else, most often, there simply won’t be a story.” That notion helps to explain a lot of the “minimalism” that is found in a typical Raymond Carver story.

His stories catch characters in the midst of their lives, and for most of them their li
Karl W.
Oct 18, 2009 Karl W. rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Carver fans
It was interesting to be able to read different versions of the same stories. It was eye-opening to see how much some of Carver's stories had been cut by Gordon Lish, his editor. It was also interesting to read some of the essays, which I had not read before. The essays also served as a means to catch a breath from the stories. It was wonderful to have them included, as they revealed another dimension of Carver's insight and talent.

On the other hand, the very completeness and sheer scope of thi
This collection has been an on-going, sordid, love affair of late. While many critics have made the claim that Carver's stories were purely the product of fine editing, there is a haunting quality about what is said and what is left alone that drills deeply into the contemporary mindset. As a bonus, for those who accept the notions of criticism prevailed, LOA has added "Beginners" (the original, un-edited, version of Carver's landmark "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" so that comparis ...more
This man can shatter you and fix you, using only words. I'm too ashamed I never knew of his existence before, but there now I've read the collected stories and most of them multiple times. And I have to say I like the unedited manuscript versions the most. There is some beauty in the aggressive Lish edited stories but in Carver's original ones, there is more humanity. Somedays, when I had insomnia, I lay in bed thinking, thank god there's Raymond...
when things are getting you down and maybe ALL your bad decisions won't let you sleep or function, you know its time to take a Raymond carver pill. i bet maybe, you never did sleep with that person you lusted after, or skipped town like you wanted too, or raped that girl then bashed her head in with a rock. no. but reading short stories could help pass your time during those long nights. this is a definitive edition with lots of notes, bibliographical essays, two different versions of "this is w ...more
Josh Hornbeck
May 08, 2014 Josh Hornbeck is currently reading it
I just finished Raymond Carver's first set of collected stories, "Will You Please Be Quiet, please?" My first real experience with Carver, this is a gorgeous collection of short stories about the quiet desperation of the middle class. I also tackled the two stories from his collection "Furious Season" that aren't collected in other volumes. All I can say is I'm really excited to dive into even more of his fiction.
Marc Horton
Even without the bait of the manuscript version of What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, originally titled Beginners, this is still the holy grail of American short fiction, alongside Flannery O'Connor's work. What the draft of that classic collection shows us is that perhaps his reputation as a poet of terse, minimalist drama was overstated a bit, but that's neither here nor there: this is amazing stuff, and having it all here within the pages of a beautifully bound Library of America vol ...more
Michael Matson
Carver was an amazing writer, capable of peeling the skin off his subjects and exposing their
inner workings.
This is such a great volume of the stories of a great man. It has everything he wrote - including both versions (BOTH VERSIONS) of "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" (aka, "Beginners" in its origin). Library of America are dreamy to begin with, but this volume is great by content alone.
Lance Contrucci
I keep it on my bed stand.
Carver is a master of the form. His stories are deceptively straightforward--there is a lot going on under the surface.

Another outstanding collection from American Library, even including the original manuscript of one of his books that was heavily edited prior to publication. My only hair to split is that it does not include revisions Carver made to a small handful of stories published in lit mags after their appearance in whatever book has been collected here. But, overall the best that money
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  • Collected Stories and Other Writings
  • Goodbye, Columbus and Five Short Stories / Letting Go
  • Novels, 1926-1929
  • Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, A Death in the Family, and Shorter Fiction
  • The Grapes of Wrath and Other Writings, 1936-1941
  • Raymond Carver: A Writer's Life
  • Early Novels and Stories
  • Novels and Stories, 1920-1922
  • Redburn, White-Jacket, Moby-Dick
  • Historical Romances
  • Novels, 1955-1962: Lolita / Pnin / Pale Fire / The Lolita Screenplay
  • Novels, 1944-1953
  • Main Street / Babbitt
  • Collected Works: Wise Blood / A Good Man is Hard to Find / The Violent Bear it Away / Everything that Rises Must Converge / Essays and Letters
  • The House of Mirth / The Reef / The Custom of the Country / The Age of Innocence
  • The Sheltering Sky, Let it Come Down, The Spider's House
  • Collected Plays 1944-1961
  • Complete Novels: The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter / Reflections in a Golden Eye / The Ballad of the Sad Cafe / The Member of the Wedding / Clock Without Hands
Carver was born into a poverty-stricken family at the tail-end of the Depression. The son of a violent alcoholic, he married at 19, started a series of menial jobs and his own career of 'full-time drinking as a serious pursuit'. A career that would eventually kill him. Constantly struggling to support his wife and family Carver enrolled in a writing programme under author John Gardner in 1958 and ...more
More about Raymond Carver...
What We Talk About When We Talk About Love Cathedral Where I'm Calling From: New and Selected Stories Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? Short Cuts: Selected Stories

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“It's akin to style, what I'm talking about, but it isn't style alone. It is the writer's particular and unmistakable signature on everything he writes. It is his world and no other. This is one of the things that distinguishes one writer from another. Not talent. There's plenty of that around. But a writer who has some special way of looking at things and who gives artistic expression to that way of looking: that writer may be around for a time.” 19 likes
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