Tuesday, June 16, 2009

If you search for Raymond Carver in the New Yorker archives, you get this interesting article from 2007 about how Carver's editor Gordon Lish cut some of Carver's stories by as much as 70%, but you also get little truncated abstracts of all the stories Carver ever published in the magazine. These are pretty great in themselves, e.g.:

"The narrator is a reformed alcoholic whose entire family is dependent on him for money. His ex-wife gets her monthly check due to a court order. His mother out in California, is poor and greedy, and he sends her a check monthly. His daughter lives in a trailer with…"

And that's it. What else do you need? It's as if Gordon Lish has returned, crazed, from the grave, determined to cut the stories not just by 70% but by 99%, distilling the prose down to a black poisonous residuum of Pure Carver.

Update: it's been brought to my attention (by two commenters! I had no idea anyone read this blog!) that Lish is still alive. So maybe it really is him writing those abstracts.


Nick3232 said...

isn't Gordon Lish still alive though?

Robb Todd said...

Yes, he's still alive