The American Chekhov' Sunday Times
Raymond Carver was born in Clatskanie, Oregon, in 1938. His father was a saw-mill worker and his mother was a waitress and clerk. He married early and for years writing had to come second to earning a living for his young family. Despite, small-press publication, it was not until Will You Please Be Quiet Please? appeared in 1976 that his work began to reach a wider audience. This was the year in which he gave up alcohol, which had contributed to the collapse of his marriage. In 1977 he met the writer Tess Gallagher, with whom he shared the last eleven years of his life. During this prolific period he wrote three collections of stories, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, Cathedral and Elephant. Fires, a collection of essays, poems and stories, appeared in 1985, followed by three further collections of poetry. In 1988 he completed the poetry collection A New Path to the Waterfall.
Carver is the king of short fiction. His writing hits you in the
pit of your stomach, and haunts you with its disenchantment. It's
Carver has made himself the natural successor to his true mentor, Chekhov
He is alert to the unique, inconspicuous incident, when a life or a marriage may change course decisively
Carver's stories celebrate some lasting aspects of the human condition, however minimal, conjuring up a quality of fellow feeling which gives the stories a compelling, dry-eyed poignancy, a melancholy but intensely moving authenticity
There is nobody else like him. In some ways his pared-down style is an extreme development of the Hemingway style, but Carver writes about women and the ways men relate to them far more convincingly than Hemingway ever did