BOOK: Paperback; Fires by Raymond Carver

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The Independent Culture
Short story writer Raymond Carver, who died in 1988, was famous for his pared-down simplicity, and in Fires (Harvill £7.99), a fine, varied selection of prose and poems first published in 1985, he disclosed the cause of his much-praised minimalism - his children: "[For] 19 years in all, there wasn't any area of my life where their heavy and often baleful influence didn't reach.

" No time, no peace, no place, meant that the contemplative long haul of the novel was out of the question, but he manag ed toforge a voice of beautiful clarity and stillness all the same