When he died in August 1988, Raymond Carver had just published what were thought to be his last stories in the collection entitled Elephant and his own collection of stories, Where I'm Calling from. Five previously unpublished stories have recently been discovered, and this new volume brings together all of his uncollected fiction, including a fragment of an unfinished novel, five early stories, and all of his non-fiction prose.
Three of these late-found stories are fine examples of Carver's late, open style, while two date from his middle period. The non-fiction prose includes all of his essays, together with occasional commentary on his own fiction and poetry, writings on the American short story, and reviews of work by his contemporaries, among them Donald Barthelme, Richard Brautigan, Jim Harrison, Thomas McGuane and Richard Ford. Also included is Carver's latest essay "Friendship", about a London reunion with Richard Ford and Tobias Wolff.
Call If You Need Me takes us into Carver's workshop, and alongside All of Us: The Collected Poems and Where I'm Calling from: The Selected Stories completes the picture of one of the most original writers in the English language of his generation.
Raymond Carver was born in Clatskanie, Oregon, in 1938. His father was a saw-mill worker and his mother was a waitress and clerk. He married early and for years writing had to come second to earning a living for his young family. Despite small-press publication, it was not until Will You Please Be Quiet Please? appeared in 1976 that his work began to reach a wider audience. This was the year in which he gave up alcohol, which had contributed to the collapse of his marriage. In 1977 he met the writer Tess Gallagher, with whom he shared the last eleven years of his life. During this prolific period he wrote three collections of stories, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, Cathedral and Elephant. Fires, a collection of essays, poems and stories, appeared in 1985, followed by three further collections of poetry. In 1988 he completed the poetry collection A New Path to the Waterfall.