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Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? [Paperback]

Raymond Carver
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 July 2003
With this, his first collection, Carver breathed new life into the short story. In the pared-down style that has since become his hallmark, Carver showed how humour and tragedy dwell in the hearts of ordinary people, and won a readership that grew with every subsequent brilliant collection of stories, poems and essays that appeared in the last eleven years of his life.

Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New edition edition (3 July 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099449897
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099449898
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 13 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 433,977 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Raymond Carver was born in Clatskanie, Oregon, in 1938. His first short stories appeared in Esquire during Gordon Lish's tenure as fiction editor in the 1970s. Carver's work began to reach a wider audience with the 1976 publication of Will You Please be Quiet, Please, but it was not until the 1981 publication of What We Talk About When We Talk About Love under Gordon Lish, then at Knopf, that he began to achieve real literary fame.

This collection was edited by more than 40 per cent before publication, and Carver dedicated it to his fellow writer and future wife, Tess Gallagher, with the promise that he would one day republish his stories at full length.

He went on to write two more collections of stories, Cathedral and Elephant, which moved away from the earlier minimalist style into a new expansiveness, as well as several collections of poetry. He died in 1988, aged fifty.

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'The American Chekhov' Sunday Times

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'The American Chekhov' Sunday Times

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I started reading Carver having seen Altman's film Short Cuts, and mainly because of its very funny portrayal of ordinary white working class American lives. How so different to this same world as portrayed by Carver himself. I have never read such sparse and quiet a narrative often so absent of events but which speak so directly to you and with such caring insight into people and their problems. The events and problems are often not those which can be translated or put into words for the benefit of a non-reader - Carver weaves impressions and lingering emotions which relate the lives of his folk rather than spreading out bare their lives before you, although paradoxically this is in fact exactly what he does achieve by standing back and allowing characters to tell their own story.
I find Carver the most original and intuitive voice - the craft of short story writing is much the poorer for his death.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting short stories 2 May 2013
By Jez
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Evokes the 70's era of small town America and the interactions of the population. Enjoyable & thought provoking with tenuous links or themes between each story.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short and ever so sweet! 27 May 2009
Anyone who knows anything, knows what Carver was (and is), what he can be, could be. This book is everything conveyed with next to nothing, it is more, so much more. If Carver were music he would be jazz.

Carver's genius lies in his powers of transportation. His ability to paint his subjects in the most transparent of washes, the faintest of brush-strokes and yet still manage to make you imagine them in their fullness and their complexity. Like the Chinese or Japanese masters of 'sumi-e' (ink painting), he lays down the simplest of lines, the simplest of narratives and the simplest language to convey to the viewer (the reader) just what was intended to be conveyed. There is no waste, no excess, no fat to be trimmed here, he stops short of giving too much and just shy of not giving you enough.

Carver arguably restored the relationship, the contract between the reader and an author. A contract whereby both parties agree to work for a common goal. The author agrees to give part of the story, if the reader agrees to use their imagination to fill in the blanks. And in agreeing to this contract, they agree to not just use their imagination in some passive, inert sense, but rather agree to draw on their store of experiences and knowledge to deepen one's assimilation to the characters and situations laid down on the page.

This short collection is memorable from start to finish and is highly recommended for anyone who likes great story-telling, who is interested in the human condition, or anyone who wants to encounter just what the short story can be.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In the presence of greatness. 21 Jun 1999
By A Customer
...It is a conundrum that some of our greatest writers are so under-read if you like.
What you get with RAYMOND CARVER is a deep insight into human behaviour and emotion. His stories are often set around the mundane and frequently have no satisfactory resolution of the problems/situations that confront the main characters , but what a web this man spins. It is the sign of greaatness to do all of the above in such simple but effective language.
His style of writing is so different , that you may find like I did , that initially you are confused by the stories within this book. Persist. It took me about three stories until I skipped to THE STUDENT'S WIFE and then followed this by reading BICYCLES , MUSCLES, CIGARETTES .
They literally blew me away.
Buy this book and treasure the wisdom within I am not a re-reader of books but I found myself reading this again .
Rest in peace RAYMOND CARVER . You brought a devasting original voice into the short story form , and for that I salute you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Saying somethings about what seem to be nothings 21 Jan 2014
By Saul
In this collection of short stories, the author once again creates fiction out of everyday non-fiction, showing us that there is much more weight behind a gathering, a conversation, a movement than we initially believe, more to life than meets the eye. Each story peels back the curtain and allows us a view into what seem like everyday lives of everyday people, only to reveal the sensitive layers of those lives that we as outsiders only get to pontificate on from afar. The real truth is outed, the truth that in something as minuscule as a glance, there is a great story waiting to be told.

Read this work, devour all of Carver's short stories and marvel at a genius of his craft, for there are few as great at turning the seeming mundanity of life into several pages of pleasure, as Carver.
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