Fires

by Raymond Carver

ISBN: 39472299X

This book is a re-read for me.

Fires is a collection, and a bit of an odd one: it starts off with two essays, then has quiet a bit of poetry, then some stories, an interview from Paris Review, and an afterword Carver wrote because he thought a foreward seemed “presumptuous” of someone under fifty. (This was written before his diagnosis of and death from lung cancer in 1988, at age fifty.)

I haven’t read Carver in quite some time, but I always liked him because I thought of him as a “no bullshit” kind of writer. On re-reading, he still is a no bullshit writer; I was right about that part. In the first essay, he talks about why he became a writer of poems and short stories, rather than novels. He said this: “Get in, get out. Don’t linger. Go on.”

I love Carver. This time around, I especially liked the essays, and the sense, building as I read through the whole book, that I was reading the work of someone who really wanted to be writing what he was writing, who sweated for the words on the page.

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