I have to say I think Gordon Lish is correct. From what I've seen of Carver's work both pre- and post-Lish, if Carver had not been edited by Lish he would have been just another regressive realist.
I was there before there was a record to suffer muddling, confusion, sides taken. I can’t believe that what I had in my hands from Ray would have made its way into the hearts of those who have apparently been so undone by the work. Which work had been deformed, reformed, tampered with in every respect by, yeah, me. Contaminated, uncontaminated, that’s a discrete consideration. But readers were seduced, and, I’m sorry, but it was my intervention that seduced them