Find of the day: Raymond Carver reading ‘What we talk about when we talk about love’

raymond-carver

Described by the New York Times Book Review as “surely the most influential writer of American short stories in the second half of the 20th Century”, Raymond Carver is perhaps best known for his celebrated short story – and short story collection – What we talk about when we talk about love.

It’s incredible therefore to have stumbled upon this audio recording of Carver reading his most famous story. In fact – as far as we here at Nothing in the Rulebook are aware – this is the only known recording of Carver reading his signature story, taped in a Palo Alto hotel room in 1983.

You can listen to the story here: https://beta.prx.org/stories/42401/details

The program not only presents What we talk about when we talk about love, read aloud by Carver; it also provides a detailed introduction, setting the scene of that 1983 morning in a random motel. After a short conversation, philosophical and sometimes funny, Carver reads his celebrated story.

Crucially, this is the edited version of his story, which was originally entitled Beginners. In fact, What we talk about when we talk about love has raised important questions about the subject of the editorial influence on writing – and much has been made of how much influence Carver’s editor, Gordon Lish, had in establishing the unique minimalist style that pervades the writing. You can read more on this here at the New York Times.

While there is much to discuss about Carver’s writing, for the moment, take this rare opportunity to enjoy a truly brilliant example of short fiction writing; read aloud by its creator.

 

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