Raymond Carver quoting Milan Kundera


I just noticed the quote below from the inside of the great Raymond Carver’s short stories collection Where I’m Calling From. He quotes Milan Kundera which now seems perfectly natural to me. Both men lived through difficult times ; Kundera being expelled from Czechoslovakia when the Russians invaded in 1968, leaving life behind and Carver worked through miserly jobs and alcoholism until he cleared his head enough to started writing his stories in his stark manner.

I first heard of Carver from my friend Andy Carlin who recommended him to me. Thanks man. I have lapped up as much Carver as I can find. His story Cathedral is as smooth and uplifting as you will find from such a sober man. It truly makes you smile broadly.

Carver was a hero to many. The Japanese author Haruki Murakami in particular sought him out as a friend and translated Carver’s stories into Japanese. His stories deal with human emotions and dynamics. Like Kundera, you wonder at the life you’ve had to have led to be able to articulate these stories.

Carver died in 1988 aged only 50.

And finally the quote….

“We can never know what to want, because living only one life, we can neither compare it with our previous lives nor perfect it in our lives to come.”

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