No Heroics, Please: Uncollected Writings

Raymond Carver, Author Vintage Books USA $12 (239p) ISBN 978-0-679-74007-0
This ragtag collection features juvenilia (four short stories written during Carver's undergraduate years and a fifth composed shortly afterward), poetry from the author's small press books, the fragment of a novel, essays and other miscellany. The early fiction holds virtually no literary merit; the poetry is often either derivative or superficial (``He knew he was / in trouble when, / in the middle / of the poem, / he found himself / reaching / for his thesaurus / and then / Webster's / in that order''). The book reviews (with the exception of a thoughtful review of the Selected Letters of Sherwood Anderson ) seem dated. A commencement address, delivered shortly before Carver died in 1988, has a wistfully solemn quality that will seem odd to readers of Carver's elegant but audacious short fiction. In the introduction to Fires: Essays, Poems, Stories reprinted here, Carver remarks on the importance to him of the process of rewriting: ``I think by nature I'm more deliberate and careful than I am spontaneous . . . .'' This collection of mostly unpolished odds and ends does a disservice to a master craftsman. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1992
Release date: 06/01/1992
Genre: Fiction
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