Marilynne Robinson on Raymond Carver: “His weaknesses are for sentimentality and sensationalism.”

From Literary Hub: Marilynne Robinson writing in the New York Times about Raymond Carver’s book Where I’m Calling From:

“To be blunt, I propose to abduct Raymond Carver from the camp of the minimalists … In fact, Mr. Carver stands squarely in the line of descent of American realism. His weaknesses are for sentimentality and sensationalism. His great gift is for writing stories that create meaning through their form … He should be famous for the conceptual beauty of his best stories, and disburdened of his worst, which could then pass into relative neglect … Mr. Carver uses his narrow world to generate suggestive configurations that could not occur in a wider one. His impulse to simplify is like an attempt to create a hush, not to hear less but to hear better. Nothing recurs so powerfully in these stories as the imagination of another life, always so like the narrator’s or the protagonist’s own that the imagination of it is an experience of the self, that fuddled wraith.”

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