2016年5月11日 星期三

Raymond Carver. THE LITTLE SISTER by Raymond Chandler

“Wonderful what Hollywood will do to a nobody. It will make a radiant glamour queen out of a drab little wench who ought to be ironing a truck driver's shirts, a he-man hero with shining eyes and brilliant smile reeking of sexual charm out of some overgrown kid who was meant to go to work with a lunch-box. Out of a Texas car hop with the literacy of a character in a comic strip it will make an international courtesan, married six times to six millionaires and so blasé and decadent at the end of it that her idea of a thrill is to seduce a furniture-mover in a sweaty undershirt.”
―from THE LITTLE SISTER by Raymond Chandler
The Lady in the Lake moves Marlowe out of his usual habitat of city streets and into the mountains outside of Los Angeles in his strange search for a missing woman. The Little Sister takes Marlowe to Hollywood, where he tries to find a sweet young thing’s missing brother, uncovering on the way a little blackmail, a lot of drugs, and more than enough murder. In The Long Goodbye, a case involving a war-scarred drunk and his nymphomaniac wife has Marlowe constantly on the move: a psychotic gangster’s on his trail, he’s in trouble with the cops, and more and more corpses keep turning up. Playback features a well-endowed redhead who leads Marlowe to the California coast to solve a tale of big money and, of course, murder. Throughout these masterpieces, Marlowe’s wry humor and existential sense of his job prove yet again why he has become one of the most recognized and imitated characters in fiction.


Raymond Carver
Born May 25, 1938(1938-05-25)
Clatskanie, Oregon, United States
Died August 2, 1988(1988-08-02) (aged 50)
Port Angeles, Washington, United States
Occupation Writer
Nationality American
Period 1958–1988
Literary movement Minimalism, Dirty realism

Raymond Clevie Carver, Jr. (May 25, 1938 – August 2, 1988) was an American short story writer and poet. Carver is considered a major American writer of the late 20th century and also a major force in the revitalization of the short story in the 1980s.
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Carver was born in Clatskanie, Oregon, a mill town on the Columbia River, and grew up in Yakima, Washington.[1] His father, a skilled sawmill worker from Arkansas, was a fisherman and a heavy drinker. Carver's mother worked on and off as a waitress and a retail clerk. His one brother, James Franklin Carver, was born in 1943.
Carver was educated at local schools in Yakima, Washington. In his spare time he read mostly novels by Mickey Spillane or publications such as Sports Afield and Outdoor Life and hunted and fished with friends and family. After graduating from Yakima High School in 1956, Carver worked with his father at a sawmill in California. In June 1957, aged 19, he married 16-year-old Maryann Burk. She had just graduated from a private Episcopal school for girls. Their daughter, Christine La Rae, was born in December 1957. When their second child, a boy named Vance Lindsay, was born the next year, Carver was 20. Carver supported his family by working as a janitor, sawmill laborer, delivery man, and library assistant. During their marriage, Maryann worked as a waitress, salesperson, administrative assistant, and high school English teacher.
Carver became interested in writing in California, where he had moved with his family because his mother-in-law had a home in Paradise. Carver attended a creative-writing course taught by the novelist John Gardner, who became a mentor and had a major influence on Carver's life and career. Carver continued his studies first at Chico State University and then at Humboldt State College in Arcata, California, where he studied with Richard Cortez Day and received his B.A. in 1963. During this period he was first published and served as editor for Toyon, the university literary magazine, in which he included several of his own pieces under pseudonyms. He later attended the Iowa Writers' Workshop, at the University of Iowa, for one year. Maryann graduated from San Jose State College in 1970 and taught English at Los Altos High School until 1977.
In the mid-1960s Carver and his family lived in Sacramento, where he worked as a night custodian at Mercy Hospital. He would do all of the janitorial work in the first hour and then write at the hospital through the rest of the night. He sat in on classes at what was then Sacramento State College, including workshops with poet Dennis Schmitz. Carver and Schmitz soon became friends, and Carver's first book of poems, Near Klamath, was later written and published under Schmitz's guidance.
With his appearance in the respected "Foley collection," the impending publication of Near Klamath by the English Club of Sacramento State College, and the death of his father, 1967 was a landmark year for Carver. That was also the year that he moved his family to Palo Alto, California, so that he could take a job as a textbook editor for Science Research Associates. He worked there until he was fired in 1970 for his inappropriate writing style. In the 1970s and 1980s as his writing career began to take off, Carver taught for several years at universities throughout the United States.
During his years of working different jobs, rearing children, and trying to write, Carver started to drink heavily.[1] By his own admission, eventually he more or less gave up writing and took to full-time drinking. In the fall semester of 1973, Carver was a teacher in the Iowa Writers' Workshop with John Cheever, but Carver stated that they did less teaching than drinking and almost no writing. The next year, after leaving Iowa City, Cheever went to a treatment center to attempt to overcome his alcoholism, but Carver continued drinking for three years. After being hospitalized three times (between June 1976 and February or March 1977), Carver began his 'second life' and stopped drinking on June 2, 1977, with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous.[1]
Carver met the poet Tess Gallagher at a writers' conference in Dallas, Texas in November, 1977. Beginning in January, 1979, Carver and Gallagher lived together in El Paso, Texas, in a borrowed cabin near Port Angeles, in western Washington state, and in Tucson, Arizona. In 1980, the two moved to Syracuse, where Gallagher had been appointed the coordinator of the creative writing program at Syracuse University; Carver taught as a professor in the English department. He and Gallagher jointly purchased a house in Syracuse, at 832 Maryland Avenue. In ensuing years, the house became so popular that the couple had to hang a sign outside that read "Writers At Work" in order to be left alone. In 1982, Carver and first wife, Maryann, were divorced.[2] He married Gallagher in 1988 in Reno, Nevada. Six weeks later, on August 2, 1988, Carver died in Port Angeles, Washington, from lung cancer at the age of 50. In the same year, he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Raymond Carver is buried at Ocean View Cemetery in Port Angeles, WA. The inscription on his tombstone reads:
And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.
His poem Gravy is also inscribed.
As Carver's will directed, Tess Gallagher assumed the management of his literary estate.


In 2001 the novelist Chuck Kinder published Honeymooners: A Cautionary Tale, a roman à clef of his friendship with Carver in the 1970s. In 2006 Maryann Burk Carver wrote a memoir of her years with Carver: What It Used To Be Like: A Portrait of My Marriage to Raymond Carver. An unauthorized biography, Raymond Carver: A Writer's Life by Carol Sklenicka, published by Scribner in 2009, was named one of the Best Ten Books of that year by The New York Times Book Review.[3] Carver's widow refused to cooperate with Sklenica.[4]


Carver's career was dedicated to short stories and poetry. He described himself as "inclined toward brevity and intensity" and "hooked on writing short stories" (in the foreword of Where I'm Calling From, a collection published in 1988 and a recipient of an honorable mention in the 2006 New York Times article citing the best works of fiction of the previous 25 years). Another stated reason for his brevity was "that the story [or poem] can be written and read in one sitting." This was not simply a preference but, particularly at the beginning of his career, a practical consideration as he juggled writing with work. His subject matter was often focused on blue-collar experience, and was clearly reflective of his own life. The same could probably be said of the recurring theme of alcoholism and recovery.
Carver's writing style and themes are often identified with Ernest Hemingway, Anton Chekhov, and Franz Kafka.[citation needed] Carver also referred to Isaac Babel, Frank O'Connor, and V. S. Pritchett as influences. Chekhov, however, seems the greatest influence, motivating him to write Errand, one of his final stories, about the Russian writer's final hours.
Minimalism is generally seen as one of the hallmarks of Carver's work. His editor at Esquire magazine, Gordon Lish, was instrumental in shaping Carver's prose in this direction - where his earlier tutor John Gardner had advised Carver to use fifteen words instead of twenty-five, Gordon Lish instructed Carver to use five in place of fifteen. Objecting to the "surgical amputation and transplantation" of Lish's heavy editing, Carver eventually broke with him.[5] During this time, Carver also submitted poetry to James Dickey, then poetry editor of Esquire. His style has also been described as Dirty realism, which connected him with a group of writers in the 1970s and 1980s that included Richard Ford, Tobias Wolff -- two writers Carver was closely acquainted with—as well as Ann Beattie and Jayne Anne Phillips. With the exception of Beattie, who wrote about upper-middle class people, these were writers who focused on sadness and loss in the everyday lives of ordinary people—often lower-middle class or isolated and marginalized people—who represent Henry David Thoreau's idea of living lives of "quiet desperation."
His first published story appeared in 1960, titled "The Furious Seasons." More florid than his later work, the story strongly bore the influence of William Faulkner. "Furious Seasons" was later used as a title for a collection of stories published by Capra Press, and can now be found in recent collections No Heroics, Please and Call If You Need Me.
His first collection, Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?, was first published in 1976; the title story had appeared in the Best American Short Stories 1967 collection. The collection itself was shortlisted for the National Book Award, though it sold fewer than 5,000 copies that year.
Carver was nominated again in 1984 for his third major-press collection, Cathedral, the volume generally perceived as his best. Included in the collection are the award-winning stories "A Small, Good Thing", and "Where I'm Calling From." John Updike selected the latter for inclusion in The Best American Short Stories of the Century. For his part, Carver saw Cathedral as a watershed in his career, in its shift towards a more optimistic and confidently poetic style.
His final (incomplete) collection of seven stories, titled Elephant in Britain (included in "Where I'm Calling From") was composed in the five years before his death. The nature of these stories, especially "Errand", have led to some speculation that Carver was preparing to write a novel. Only one piece of this work has survived - the unpromising fragment "The Augustine Notebooks," printed in No Heroics, Please.
Tess Gallagher published five Carver stories posthumously in Call If You Need Me; one of the stories ("Kindling") won an O. Henry Award in 1999. Throughout his lifetime Carver won six O. Henry Awards: the winning stories were "Are These Actual Miles" (originally titled "What is it?") (1972), "Put Yourself in My Shoes" (1974), "Are You A Doctor?" (1975), "A Small, Good Thing" (1983), and "Errand" (1988).
Tess Gallagher fought with Knopf for permission to republish the stories in What We Talk About When We Talk About Love as they were originally written by Carver, as opposed to the heavily-edited (or "heavy edits") and altered versions that appeared in 1981 under the editorship of Gordon Lish.[6][7] The book, entitled 'Beginners',[8] was released in hardback on October 1, 2009 in Great Britain.[9] 'Beginners' also appears in a new Library of America edition collecting all of Carver's short fiction.
Carver believed he would have died of alcoholism at the age of 40 if he hadn't found a way to stop drinking. When he knew the cancer would kill him, he wrote a poem about that bonus of 10 years, called "Gravy."[10]





  • Where I'm Calling From (1988)
  • Short Cuts: Selected Stories (1993) - published to accompany Robert Altman film Short Cuts
  • Collected Stories (2009) - complete short fiction including Beginners



  • Near Klamath (1968)
  • Winter Insomnia (1970)
  • At Night The Salmon Move (1976)
  • Fires (1983)
  • Where Water Comes Together With Other Water (1985)
  • Ultramarine (1986)
  • A New Path To The Waterfall (1989)


  • In a Marine Light: Selected Poems (1988)
  • All of Us: The Collected Poems (1996)


  • Dostoevsky (1985, with Tess Gallagher)

Films and theatre adaptations


  • The 1989 album So Much Water So Close to Home by Australian singer-songwriter Paul Kelly, includes a track "Everything's Turning to White" which is a re-telling of Carver's story So Much Water So Close to Home.
  • The 2004 EP by Owen includes a song titled Gazebo, named after Carver's short story. The song mentions Carver's name, and also quotes the final line of Gazebo; "In this too, she was right."
  • The 2005 album Pocket Revolution by dEUS includes a song titled "What We Talk About (When We Talk About Love)".

Books and articles about Carver

  • Carver, Maryann Burk (2006). What It Used to Be Like; A Portrait of My Marriage to Raymond Carver. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-33258-0.
  • Nesset, Kirk (1995). Stories Of Raymond Carver: A Critical Study. Ohio University Press. ISBN 0821411004.
  • Charles McGrath (October 28, 2007). "I, Editor Author". Week in Review, New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/28/weekinreview/28mcgrath.html. Retrieved 2007-10-28.
  • Pieters, Jesús (2004). El silencio de lo real: sentido, comprensión e interpretación en la narrativa de Raymond Carver. Monte Ávila Editores Latinoamericana. ISBN 9789800112199.
  • Stull, William L. and Gentry, Marshall Bruce (editors) (1990). Conversations With Raymond Carver (Literary Conversations Series). University Press of Mississippi. ISBN 0878054499.
  • Stull, William L. and Carroll, Maureen P. (editors) (1993). Remembering Ray: A Composite Biography of Raymond Carver. Capra Press. ISBN 0884963705.
  • Runyon, Randolph Paul (1994). Reading Raymond Carver. Syracuse University Press. ISBN 9780815626312.
  • Kleppe, Sandra Lee and Miltner, Robert (editors) (2008). New Paths to Raymond Carver; Critical Essays on His Life, Fiction, and Poetry. University of South Carolina Press. ISBN 9781570037245.
  • Halpert, Sam (1995). Raymond Carver. An Oral Biography. University of Iowa Press. ISBN 0-87745-502-3.
  • Sklenicka, Carol (Nov 2009). Raymond Carver: A Writer's Life. Scribner. ISBN 978-0-7432-6245-3.
  • The novel Name Your Poison: A Max Mitchum Mystery, by Lucas Stensland, was a comical attempt by the author to combine the styles of "the two Raymonds": Carver and Chandler. The book was intended to be a tribute.
  • Ródenas, Gabri (2009), “Jarmusch y Carver: Se ha roto el frigorífico” in Fernández, P. (Ed.), Rompiendo moldes: Discursos, género e hibridación en el siglo XXI. Zamora/Sevilla: Editorial Comunicación Social. ISBN 978-84-96082-88-5. Available at Google Books.


  1. ^ a b c Sklenicka, Carol. Raymond Carver: A Writer's Life. New York: Scribner, 2009
  2. ^ What It Used To Be Like: A Portrait of My Marriage to Raymond Carver, St. Martin's Press (July 11, 2006)
  3. ^ King, Steven. "Raymond Carver’s Life and Stories," The New York Times, Nov. 19, 2009
  4. ^ David Wiegand, "Serendipitous stay led writer to Raymond Carver," San Francisco Chronicle, December 19, 2009
  5. ^ The Carver Chronicles
  6. ^ The Real Carver: Expansive or Minimal?
  7. ^ For further details of the extent of the original editing, see Blake Morrison, [1] and ‘Carved up, or kindly cut?’ by James Ley, [2]
  8. ^ And re-edited by William Stull and Maureen Carroll
  9. ^ Beginners, London, Jonathan Cape, 2009
  10. ^ Ebert, Roger (October 22, 1993). "Short Cuts". Chicago Sun-Times. http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/classifieds?category=REVIEWS01&TITLESearch=Short%20Cuts&ToDate=20101231. Retrieved 2010-01-05.

External links

瑞蒙.卡佛(Raymond Carver, 1938-1988)乃是二十世紀美國文學上的一個奇蹟和一則傳奇。
瑞蒙.卡佛(Raymond Carver, 1938-1988)乃是二十世紀美國文學上的一個奇蹟和一則傳奇。他出身寒微,為下層工人之子,自己中學畢業後即早婚生子。二十歲就得忙著一家四口的生 活,從這個工作地點搬到另一個工作地點。看起來這種辛苦工作的人生似乎沒什麼盡頭,他並因此而成了酗酒之徒;但儘管人生似乎已拋棄了他,而他卻從未真的放 棄人生,對文學堅持不變的執愛,最後終於將他從生命的困境中解救。1983年,他得到「米德瑞暨哈洛.史特勞斯生活年金獎」(Mildred & Harold Strauss Living Award),每年可獲得免稅年俸三萬五千美元,為期五年,他的窘境才徹底解除。
瑞蒙.卡佛以對文學至終不變的熱愛拯救了自己的人生,而他回報整個世界的,乃是他也拯救了文學。1960年代以來,美國文學進入各式各樣的先鋒實驗 主義大盛的年代,用理論一點的說法,那是文學上的知識分子本位主義(Intellectual Egoism)掛帥:對文學的風格、敘述方式及語言表達都根據知識分子的偏好任意界定,它雖造成文學上看起來熱鬧和多采多姿,但反而言之,卻也等於將一般 讀者驅逐到了文學之外,在這種大趨勢下,瑞蒙.卡佛這個名不見經傳的小人物,卻悶聲不響,沒有任何理論靠山下,默默的去寫他那些不張揚的故事,他對文學的 誠實謙卑不做作,使他連繫上了海明威的傳統,他成了二十世紀重要的短篇小說作家,也是1980年代文學重振活力的先行者。他的作品精簡,沒有任何知識分子 因為理論先行而產生的文藝腔,都是些小人物,如餐廳服務生、推銷員、失業者、郵差、護士、麵包師等的生命質感。他沒有去強調這些人的身分階級,只是稱之為 「工作餬口的人」(working people),乃是他拒絕把人概念化和定格化,以至於疏忽了每個個人的生命感覺。
他的寫作就是以直觀為中心,去觀察每個人生命情境中有感應的場景,而沒有像許多知識分子作家一樣去層層疊疊加上自己的觀點,提示或者自以為是的說 明。由於自己觀察的眼光清澈透明,他的敘述也簡潔透明。他的文學啟蒙老師,後來成為終生至友的作家嘉德納(John Gardner)就曾期勉他寫作要簡潔。「十五個字可以講清楚的就不要用二十個字」。後來他的作品編輯,也是作家的李許(Gordon Lish)也一度說:「能三個字講清楚的就連十五個字都不必。」敘述的簡潔,後來的評論家們幾乎毫無例外的都視他為文學極簡主義(Minimalism) 的代表人物。對於這個標籤,他不是很喜歡。他即表示過:「批評家討論我的作品時,經常稱之為極簡主義,但這種稱呼卻讓我很困擾,因為它似乎是在指作品的生 命觀點狹窄,缺乏企圖,文化視野不足。坦白說,我認為這種觀點並不符合我的作品。我的作品精實,乃是我不想敘述時加油添醋搞得太過分。」
不過,他雖不喜歡「極簡主義」這種稱呼,但他終究還是承認自己精簡的寫作風格。他用海明威的話來做注解,「文章是建築,而非室內裝潢。巴洛克風格的 時代結束了。」海明威的文字敘述精簡,渲染鋪陳的東西少,沒有雕欄畫棟這種矯飾的表現。瑞蒙.卡佛所接觸的就是海明威、卡夫卡、契訶夫這些祖師爺級作家的 傳統,因而評論家們普遍認為他是海明威之後最偉大的作家。
除了文風精簡的特性之外,瑞蒙.卡佛由於早期生活艱辛,它的筆下人物幾乎沒有例外的均屬生活困苦,坎坷謀生養家活口的下層人物,縱使後來他去大學教 過文學創作,但他認為知識分子根本沒有他認為重要的那種生命質料,因而他的作品從未以知識分子為題材。基本上都是梭羅所說的低下層人們那種「靜悄悄的自暴 自棄」,因而評論家除了「極簡主義」這個稱號外,另外也稱他為「骯髒寫實主義」(Dirty Realism),這是指1970和80年代一群作家,包括瑞蒙.卡佛、福特(Richard Ford)、伍爾夫(Tobias Wolff)、比蒂(Ann Beattie)、菲莉普絲(Jayne Anne Phillips)等,這些人主要都是在寫中下階級或孤立邊緣人日常生活的悲傷及失落等題材。「極簡主義」這個稱呼瑞蒙.卡佛都不喜歡了,對「骯髒寫實主 義」他當然更不可能同意。他後來有兩段話談到自己的寫作題材及改變:
我的短篇小說裡,極大多數都是在寫可憐、徬徨無措的、經濟生活很重要,我不覺得我是個政治作家,有些右派批評家指責我沒有替美國勾劃出更多笑容圖 象,不夠樂觀,只寫不成功的人。但那些人的生活和精明幹練的成功者一樣有意義。是的,我將失業問題、金錢問題、煩惱問題視為生活的要件,人們擔心付不出房 租,擔心子女,擔心家庭生活,這是基本的。有百分之八、九十或上帝知道有多少人活在這種情況下。我寫這些窮困潦倒的人,他們經常都沒有人幫他們講話。我是 某種見證,而且我曾長期過著那種生活。我不自視為代言人,而是那種生活的見證人,我是個作者。
另外,瑞蒙.卡佛自己也承認,人的情感會隨著情境而改變。在他1983年出版《大教堂》短篇小說集時,由於生命情境已變,他雖然角色還是下層人,但 在〈大教堂〉、〈好事一小件〉等篇裡,他的敘事方式已有了微妙的變化。他變得慷慨多了,用俗話說就是給人更多相互理解的空間。我最喜歡的是〈好事一小 件〉,一個媽媽在兒子生日前去訂生日蛋糕,但兒子生日當天卻被車撞了,緊急送醫,兒子卻昏迷多日,最後腿部受傷死了。在那兩天,蛋糕店的老師傅天天打電話 來催他們取蛋糕,由於溝通不良,小孩父母認為那是可惡的惡作劇,才經歷喪子之痛的父母真想把那人殺掉。後來搞清楚了,原來要去蛋糕店興師問罪的父母,和那 個老師傅卻成了朋友。那篇故事跌宕起伏,故事急轉直下,人與人的不能溝通卻又急變為可以溝通,的確是瑞蒙.卡佛的轉捩點之一。他的「骯髒寫實主義」其實也 不是真的那麼骯髒!
瑞蒙.卡佛的短篇小說精練而準確,作者沒有層層渲染去告訴讀者要怎麼去讀,而是要讓讀者根據自己的知性與感性去體會,因此讀他的作品有時候對讀者也 是種考驗。他的作品必不是心中先有了一個意象,再去包裹和渲染這個意象,而是心中有了感覺,再透過一再修改將這個感覺精準的抓住,因此有些批評家會說他的 作品裡,某個情景怎麼到了後來卻沒了下文,這些瑕疵他自己也承認,這也是他的作品會反覆修改的原因。當年托爾斯泰寫《戰爭與和平》凡七易其稿,我卡佛的短 篇故事多修改幾次又算得了什麼?也正因他寫作嚴謹精簡、準確,感性細膩,在文學史上的地位遂被視為海明威之後最傑出的短篇作者。他作品的人間性及寫作方 式,在1970及80年代遂能獨領風騷。許多年輕輩作家都仿效他的風格去創作,而出現了所謂的「瑞蒙.卡佛體的短篇小說」。
除了在美國發揮了再活化文學的功能外,他對歐洲也有極大影響力。而他的影響力,對台灣讀者最感興趣的,應當是日本作家村上春樹深受他的影響。瑞蒙. 卡佛的所有作品都有日文譯本,全都由村上春樹翻譯。村上春樹1984年首次登門拜訪,此後兩人成了重要的文壇友人。村上春樹的文字精練,在日本近代城市文 學領有一席之地,顯然即受到瑞蒙.卡佛的啟發。最近,我在他的詩集《海那邊》(Ultramarine)就讀到他寫的一首〈擲打:致村上春樹〉。這首詩有 點長:
立刻雙膝倒下 一個冰雪的大雪球
那個痛苦 非常巨大
瑞蒙.卡佛除了短篇小說外,他同時也寫詩。他的詩與小說相同,每首都是個小小的心靈故事。在這首〈致村上春樹〉的詩裡,他們說痛苦,說屈辱,說人生 的偶然與必然,說年少輕狂及老大徒傷悲,不是人生活過,是不可能有這樣的感情的。由這首詩,也的確可以看出他和村上春樹的友誼甚深。
瑞蒙.卡佛 用生命煎熬出來的文學傳奇(下)