The hotly-tipped American writer reads the title story from his debut collection of short fiction
"The Student’s Wife" is from Raymond Carver’s first story collection, Will You Please Be Quiet, Please, published in America in 1976. You could say it’s from Ray’s "early period" – written possibly as early as the late 60s, when he was one side or the other of 30 years old. Its verbal resources are spare, direct, rarely polysyllabic, restrained, intense, never melodramatic, and real-sounding while being obviously literary in intent. (You always know, pleasurably, that you’re reading a made short story.) These affecting qualities led some dunderheads to call his stories "minimalist", which they are most assuredly not, inasmuch as they’re full-to-the-brim with the stuff of human intimacy, of longing, of barely unearthable humour, of exquisite nuance, of pathos, of unlooked-for dread, and often of love – expressed in words and gestures not frequently associated with love. More than they are minimal, they are replete with the renewings and the fresh awarenesses we go to great literature to find. When they were first published in Britain by Collins Harvill, they made a great sensation that quickly spread all over the world, and made Ray (who was lovable, anyway) adored as the great story writer of his generation. Which he was. And is.
From the New Yorker fiction podcast: David Bezmozgis reads Sergei Dovlatov’s "The Colonel Says I Love You" and discusses it with The New Yorker’s fiction editor, Deborah Treisman.
ZZ Packer reads Stuart Dybek’s "Paper Lantern," and discusses it with The New Yorker’s fiction editor, Deborah Treisman. "Paper Lantern" was published in the November 27, 1995, issue of The New Yorker, and was reprinted in "The Best American Short Stories 1996." ZZ Packer is the author of the short-story collection "Drinking Coffee Elsewhere."