Barking Kitten

Fiction, musings on literature, food writing, and the occasional Friday cat blog. For lovers of serious literature, cooking, and eating.


Close to forty. Not cool. Politically left. Atheist. Happily married. No kids.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Too much information, that is. A popular slang term out here on the West Coast, applicable here in the case of Maryann Burk Carver's memoir of life with Raymond.

The NYTBR story is written by Joyce Johnson, no stranger to the cottage industry of linking oneself to drunken writers who died too soon.

Of course Burk Carver suffered at her husband's hands--Carver's horrific drunken antics are well-documented, as is his shocking indifference toward his children. In fact, he admits to them himself in the raft of interviews and biographical fragments available in William Stull's Remembering Ray (which is out of print).

Having attended Humboldt State University, Carver's alma mater, I am well versed--and thoroughly sick of--the mythologizing. Carver was a tremendous talent who influenced countless writers. He was also all too human, both good and bad. We are now left with the gift of his work, along with the sadness of knowing there will be no more.

I have nothing but sympathy for what Maryann and her children suffered. But I would have respected her far more had she kept her own counsel. There is something to be said in our overly confessional society for quiet dignity, a quality that appears to be going the way of the dodo.

Authors, Books, Biography


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