raymond carver

Beginners is the original version of the title story from What We Talk About When We Talk About Love before over half it was controversially cut and changed by his editor Gordan Lish.

Carver is considered one of the most important short story writers of the 20th century. He employs a concise, minimalist style similar to Hemingway and Chekhov; and is associated with the Dirty Realism movement of the 70s/80s with the likes of Charles Bukowski, Tobias Wolff, Richard Ford and Cormac McCarthy.

Cathedral and Chef’s House (podcast read by David Means) are two more important Carver stories. If you like them, I’d recommend The Library of America’s Carver: Collected Stories. It contains both versions of the Beginners collection as well as his short story collections Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?, Cathedral and other stories and essays.

There have been several movie adaptations of Carver’s stories. The latest is Everything Must Go based on the story Why Don’t You Dance?