Call If You Need Me: The Uncollected Fiction and Other Prose

Raymond Carver, Author, Tess Gallagher, Foreword by Vintage Books USA $15 (320p) ISBN 978-0-375-72628-6
For fans of Carver, who died in 1988, the five newly discovered stories collected here are like a stash of diamonds stumbled upon in a long-abandoned mine. The writer's style is, as always, spare and succinct, demonstrating Carver's ability to see deep into the human heart and expose human frailty in a way that leads readers to understand things they have known all along but never before identified. The title story deals with the dissolution of a marriage, a subject Carver practically had a patent on. A couple, both engaged in affairs, decide to spend a quiet summer together in an attempt to mend their marriage. ""Kindling"" concerns a recovering alcoholic who tries to exorcise his demons by chopping a pile of logs into kindling. Possibly the strongest narrative is ""What Would You Like to See?"" in which a couple who have been bad tenants in the past try to redeem themselves by leaving their rental in spotless condition. Rewarded with a good-bye dinner, they congratulate themselves on their cordial relationship with their landlords, only to be snubbed the next morning when an unfortunate incident changes the tenor of their leave-taking. Carver's many fans will initially be attracted to this collection by the new stories, but they won't be disappointed by the remainder of the book, which includes five early stories, a fragment from a novel and assorted nonfiction pieces--book reviews, essays and brief meditations--the most interesting of which focus on Carver's theories of fiction writing. (Jan. 16)
Reviewed on: 01/08/2001
Release date: 01/01/2001
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 500 pages - 978-89-546-3727-5
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4177-0953-3
Paperback - 310 pages - 978-1-86046-846-9
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-7-89400-055-2
Compact Disc - 978-1-5159-1457-0
MP3 CD - 978-1-5159-6457-5
Hardcover - 299 pages - 978-1-86046-759-2
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