Wednesday, December 05, 2007

More on Lish/Carver

Marcel Berlins in today's Guardian picked up on the Carver/Lish story (see post a few below this.)

Berlins' view is that he feels disconcerted to discover that the ending of One More Thing was re-written by Lish. He says:

Can I ever again read and trust the author I so worshipped without thinking of the One More Thing debacle? Possibly not.


He goes on to concede this is unfair, but still ends by lamenting the fact that those lines were not Carver's.

I really don't see that it matters. Berlins compares it to finding out that the intro to Beethoven's Fifth had been written by someone else. He accepts that it would not change his view of the majesty of the music. But. There is a big But for Berlins.

Perhaps a better analogy would be painting. We all know that much of the painting of the Old Masters was done by the studio artists, those training under the Master. This doesn't make the finished result any less a Brueghel or whomever. The overall vision is the same.

In the case of the ending of One More Thing, you might argue that Lish's ending completely changes it. A happy ending is thrown out in favour of a bleak one. But I would argue not, having thought about it over the past few days. The story is the same. It is a bleak story. They are a couple whose relationship has evaporated. All Lish has done is give the story the ending it needs. The ending encapsulates in one tragic moment all that Carver had created in the preceding story. And therefore it is still Carver's, completely and totally.

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