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By Sam Halpert

Raymond Carver has turn into a literary icon for our time. while he died in 1988 on the age of 50, he used to be acclaimed because the maximum effect at the American brief tale considering Hemingway. Carver's pals have been the stuff of legend besides. during this wealthy collection—greatly extended from the sooner once we speak about Raymond Carver—of interviews with shut partners, buddies, and kinfolk, Sam Halpert has chronologically prepared the memories of Carver's grownup lifestyles, recalling his tricky “Bad Raymond” days via his moment existence as a improving alcoholic and triumphantly winning author. the result's a lively Irish wake—toasts, anecdotes, lies, songs, confessions, laments—all fantastically orchestrated by way of Halpert right into a very readable and relocating narrative.These humorous, poignant, intensely remembered interviews juxtapose own anecdotes and enlightening feedback. reminiscence mixes with research, and a full of life photo of Carver emerges as we listen diversified tales approximately him—of an identical tale advised from varied viewpoints. he's right here offered as hero, sufferer, or even villain—Carver's readers will realize the woof and distort of his tales in those affectionate narratives.

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When did you and Ray Carver first cross paths? Ray came to my creative writing class in 1961, transferring from Chico State, where he had spent a year studying under John Gardner. I'd known Gardner back at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. Ray came west here to Humboldt from Chico because he thought he'd land a job over here and help support his family. He stayed here long enough to graduate, didn't he? Oh yes, and over the time he was here he took five or six courses from me, including fiction writing.

She was selling the house in Cupertino and had scraped together the money for a rehab center for Ray. " Ray had nowhere else to go. He had no money, couldn't pay the rent. Unger welcomes me on the front porch of the small house that he and his wife, Amy, occupy just off the Syracuse campus. She asks me whether I intend to interview her sister Maryann Carver. I'd been strongly considering that possibility since the Michaels and Kittredge interviews, but neither of them had any idea where she might be or if she'd be willing to participate in an interview.

He's as comfortable and easy as an old shoe. We adjourn to the bar after the interview, and he runs off a few stories. I recall talking with him in Aspen on the day we heard that Ray had died. I'll not soon forget the unsentimental, simple manner in which Bill expressed his feelings of loss that day for his dear friend. We all know that you and Ray were good friends, but in the beginning . . Well, it's real clear. I can be specific because I remember it so vividly. It was during spring break 1970, I was teaching at the University of Montana, and the woman who was my wife at that time and I went to Seattle, you know, just to get out of Montana and hang around for awhile at the Olympic, one of the old grand hotels.

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