Saturday, October 20, 2007
Carving up Carver
Its interesting to hear that Tess Gallagher is to bring out a new version of Raymond Carver's famous, "What we talk about when we talk about love." This version will restore the cuts that his editor, Gordon Lish made. Critics seem to be of the opinion that the new book will do Carver a disservice - after all, it is far his clipped prose that he is most famous. I'd forgot that the book came out as late as 1981, since in my head his stories are so associated with the early seventies, working class America before and after the oil crisis. I like his work, but don't pretend to be have read all of it, and, it would be fair to say that I find some of the stories a little dated - in that they are so rooted in their blue collar past that is so different than the world we've grown up in. I imagine, Reaganomics in America was equally as devastating to that world as Thatcherism was in the UK, perhaps more so, in that we'd never had an American Dream to live up to - had "never had it good" really. So, given the more lyrical concerns of his later stories, I think we should welcome these new versions of Carver classics, stereo mixes to the beloved mono perhaps. It may well be, that the parochialism I sometimes find in a Carver story is less so in the new versions. Whichever, it will be a useful opportunity to re-read, contrast and compare.
Posted by Adrian Slatcher at 7:07 AM