The Granta Book of the Family

Front Cover
The family: no relationship is more important, more powerful, or more enduring. Or potentially more destructive. Since the early 1980s, Granta has published fiction, memoir, biography, and reportage inspired by the most important institution in our lives. The best, and at times the most disturbing, pieces are collected here, including "Where He Was: Memories of My Father" by Raymond Carver; "Memoirs of a Bootlegger's Son" by Saul Bellow; "Sugar Daddy" by Angela Carter; "Ramadan" by Mona Simpson; "Impertinent Daughters" by Doris Lessing; "Family Album" by Mikal Gilmore; "The Names of Women" by Louise Erdrich; and "The Up Escalator" by Bret Easton Ellis.

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About the author (1998)

Born in 1938 in an Oregon logging town, Raymond Carver grew up in Yakima, From California he went to Iowa to attend the Iowa Writers Workshop. Soon, however, he returned to California, where he worked at a number of unskilled jobs before obtaining a teaching position. Widely acclaimed as the most important short story writer of his generation, Carver writes about the kind of lower-middle-class people whom he knew growing up. His characters are waitresses, mechanics, postmen, high school teachers, factory workers, door-to-door salesmen who lead drab lives because of limited funds. Critics have said that may have the most distinctive vision of the working class. Nominated posthumously for both a National Book Critics Circle Award (1988) and a Pulitzer Prize (1989) for Where I'm Calling From: New and Selected Stories (1988), Carver is one of a handful of writers credited with reviving the short story form. Some have put Carver in the tradition of Ernest Hemingway and Stephen Crane. Carver's stories tend to be brief, with enigmatic endings, although never erupting. Violence is often just below the surface. An air of quiet desperation pervades his stories, as Carver explores the collapse of human relationships in bleak circumstances. In later works, Carver strikes a note of redemption, unheard at the beginning of his career. But for readers who are not attuned to Carver's voice of resignation, these moments may sound sentimental and unconvincing. Carver died of lung cancer in 1988.

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