An acknowledged master of the short story, Raymond Carver (1938-88) excelled at portraying the hardscrabble existence of blue-collar workers frustrated and disillusioned by the false promises of the American dream. This terrain was well known to Carver, who long worked at blue-collar jobs to support his family and personally struggled with the transiency, alcoholism, economic privation, and despair he depicts so poignantly in his fiction. At the same time, he overcame these obstacles - aided by, among others, the writer John Gardner, the editor Gordon Lish, and the poet Tess Gallagher - to become a major figure in the resurgence of the short story and the revival of realistic writing. For collections like Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?, What We Talk About When We Talk about Love, and the magnificent Cathedral, Carver won honor after honor, including nominations for the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Pulitzer Prize. And with the 1993 release of Robert Altman's film Short Cuts, Carver, long known to readers of serious fiction, attained widespread public recognition. Tracing these themes and more is Adam Meyer's Raymond Carver, which considers more of the writer's fiction and poetry than has any previous book-length study. Writing with luminous clarity, Meyer delves into the biographical elements shaping the writer's career and probes Carver's style and subject matter; he then examines the majority of the fictional works, organizing his material according to distinct phases in the writer's canon, while devoting a separate chapter to Carver's poetry. Of special appeal are Meyer's insightful comparison of stories published in multiple versions and his informed discussion of minimalism - a term often applied to Carver's writings but, Meyer argues, only partly, if at all, with accuracy.