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by Raymond Carver
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Would you want to read a war novel called Love Is One Fervent Fire? Or Death Once Dead? Or, God forbid, One Event Happeneth to Them All? Evidently, Hemingway considered all these and many more even worse ones before making a note to himself, “Shitty titles,” and going with A Farewell to Arms.
The conventional shorthand is that Gordon Lish’s versions are bracing and bleak, Carver’s verbose and sentimental. But, in a just world, Beginners would be published as a stand-alone volume to replace the shell that Lish made of it.