Hear the Only Recording of Raymond Carver Reading “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love”

This is sure­ly worth a quick men­tion: Today we added to our list of Free Audio Books a record­ing of Ray­mond Carv­er read­ing his most famous sto­ry, “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.” Taped in a Palo Alto hotel room in 1983 for a new radio series called Tell Me a Sto­ry, it’s the only known record­ing of Carv­er read­ing his sig­na­ture sto­ry. The read­ing itself starts at the 6:00 mark. Start lis­ten­ing here (or stream it above).

In 2009, Stephen King called Ray­mond Carv­er “sure­ly the most influ­en­tial writer of Amer­i­can short sto­ries in the sec­ond half of the 20th cen­tu­ry.” If you’d like to get deep­er into his lit­er­ary world — a lit­er­ary world that explores “the dim ache in the non­de­script lives of aspir­ing stu­dents, down-and-out­ers, din­er wait­ress­es, sales­men, and unhap­pi­ly hitched blue-col­lar cou­ples,” as Josh Jones once put it — you can refer back to a pre­vi­ous post where we fea­tured Richard Ford, Anne Enright, and David Means read­ing sev­er­al oth­er Carv­er sto­ries.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.