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All That Is

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About the Author

James Salter is the author of numerous books, including the novels "Solo Faces, Light Years, A Sport and a Pastime, The Arm of Flesh "(revised as "Cassada"), and "The Hunters; "the memoirs "Gods of Tin "and "Burning the Days; "the collections "Dusk and Other Stories, "which won the 1989 PEN/Faulkner Award, and "Last Night," which earned him the Rea Award for the Short Story and the PEN/Malamud Award; and "Life Is Meals: A Food Lover's Book of Days, "written with Kay Salter. He lives in New York and Colorado.


"Haunting . . . Salter [is] maybe our best (and classiest) erotic novelist. In "All That Is, "as with much of Salter's work, plot isn't why you turn the page. You do so because you become fully immersed and interested in the lives he describes. The story of Philip Bowman, told in spare and compact language, [is] potent." --Monte Burke, "Forbes" "Always an autobiographical writer, Salter here verges on the roman a clef; incidents, anecdotes, and people from his past are repurposed into mesmerizing fiction. . . . One feels the intensity of lived experience behind every line of "All That Is. "The facts may not reflect "wie es eigentlich gewesen "but the emotions are real, the events personally meaningful. Yet this is art too. Salter and his friends are not just transformed, they are transfigured, made radiant. . . . What makes this all so engaging is, first of all, Salter's gravely serious, precise, and musical prose, the close attention to the diction and rhythms of every phrase and paragraph. Just a word or two and even a minor character springs to life. . . . Second, there is the book's narrative architecture, the pleasing variousness of its scenes, chapters that might almost be short stories. . . . . Third, the book possesses, like virtually all of Salter's work, a Japanese simplicity and purity of line. Nothing goes on too long. No one ever shouts. Hearts break and lives are broken, but Salter's voice remains hushed, confiding, wise. Cheap art distracts, great art consoles. There is, however, a surprisingly strong extraliterary dimension to the book. . . . One can open to any page of Salter and find a striking image. . . . Salter, however, shouldn't be appreciated just for his epigrammatic sentences. The opening chapter of "All That Is "may well be the best piece of sustained descriptive prose he has ever written. . . . After years of being 'becalmed, ' Salter has now rightly come to be regarded as one of the great writers of his generation." --Michael Di

Navy man Philip Bowman returns from World War II uncertain about his future. He takes a job at Braden and Baum, a small New York literary publisher, and though he is gradually promoted, romantic relationships form the center of his life. Bowman meets his first wife shortly after starting his job, but his New Jersey background is very different from Vivian's horse-country Virginia upbringing, and their marriage dissolves. While on a business trip he meets Enid, an Englishwoman whose background is equally different from his own. The two begin a torrid affair that distance eventually cools. On a cab ride following another business trip, he encounters Christine, a realtor, and begins another affair. -VERDICT Salter's tone combined with the post-World War II setting gives this work the feel of something from an earlier generation. With the ever-changing panorama of New York City and New York publishing as background, Salter addresses time, love, and the mystery and wonder of life itself. [See Prepub Alert, 5/1/12.]-Lawrence Rungren, Merrimack Valley Lib. Consortium, Andover, MA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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