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Scissors: Book summary and reviews of Scissors by Stephane Michaka

Scissors

A Novel

by Stephane Michaka

Scissors
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  • Published in USA  Aug 2013
    224 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

Based on the life of the great short-story writer Raymond Carver, particularly his last ten, postalcoholic years, Scissors is that rare thing, a funny, compassionate, and convincing portrayal of the creative life: its compulsions, its rewards, its frustrations, its affinities with tragedy.

Raymond is a writer whose life is fraught with personal and creative struggle. His first marriage, to Marianne, is intense, passionate, and unhealthy. After his divorce, he finds new love and support with Joanne, a poet. All the while Raymond (and to some extent, each of his wives) is in an escalating conflict with his editor, Douglas, who both assists and distorts Raymond's work. As his success and confidence grow, Raymond strives harder and harder to ensure that his stories, the most important part of his life, are published as written. Douglas, who considers the stories as much his as Raymond's, is determined to present them in the heavily edited form he's given them. Four of Raymond's stories, presented in full at four different points in the novel, reflect his life, his relationships, and the creative process itself; and then Douglas goes to work on them. Raymond's former alcoholism and his past and present relationships always lurk in the background; Marianne and Joanne offer their own perspectives on both; and in the end, after Raymond's death, Joanne finally confronts Douglas in a way that Raymond never could.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"The book's debts to its famous subjects are repaid. It is a measure of the book's success that readers need no knowledge of its famous subjects to appreciate it. Daring and impressive. " - Kirkus Reviews

"Some cunning tricks to take the reader in.... A cold wind blows through it from beginning to end. Michaka's conclusion—that Carver's success may not have been worth it—is valid; too bad his argument is so lifeless." - Publishers Weekly

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Stephane Michaka was born in Paris in 1974. He studied at Cambridge University and taught French in South Africa before embarking on a writing career. He has written theater pieces, children's books, television scripts, and radio plays. Scissors is his third novel.

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