Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Book review
The neglected art
  1. Caoimhghin S Breathnach
  1. School of Medicine and Medical Science, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to Caoimhghin S Breathnach, School of Medicine and Medical Science, University College Dublin, Dublin 4, Ireland; caoimhghin.breathnac{at}

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Beginners by Carver Raymond. Published by Jonathan Cape, London, UK; 2009; pp. 224, £16.99, ISBN 9780224089289.

Raymond Carver's second collection of short stories, What we talk about when we talk about love (1981), won golden opinions among reviewers and established him as a fine—the finest—exponent of gritty realism and unadorned minimalism. But behind the scenes his editor at Knopf, Gordon Lish, who at Esquire magazine had guided his early steps, had removed more than half the writer's manuscript. Carver was pained by the amputations and the break between the pair was never repaired.

With the blessing of Tess Gallagher, Carver's widow, William Stull and Maureen P Carroll have restored the original manuscript of the 17 stories in Beginners. Unquestionably, Lish improved the story Want to see something by deleting an aimless sad digression about an albino infant in I could see the smallest things. And he altered the title of Pie to A serious talk as …

View Full Text


  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.