James Salter has long been admired for his lucid prose and the brilliance of his style. In this, his long-awaited first collection of short fiction there are gathered a dozen stories, some new and others which were published individually over a span of years. James Salter explores with subtlety the deeply personal worlds of a priviledged but ...
James Salter has long been admired for his lucid prose and the brilliance of his style. In this, his long-awaited first collection of short fiction there are gathered a dozen stories, some new and others which were published individually over a span of years. James Salter explores with subtlety the deeply personal worlds of a priviledged but insecure class, exposing the bright surfaces of their lives and probing for what lies beneath - hints of disillusionment, flaws of character. Seemingly without effort he brings forth a prism of human experience, of lives seen from a mulitplicity of viewpoints. The stories reflect, turn, and reflect again the myriad moments that shape a fate. In one, a divorced woman learns that she is about to lose the last thing of real value to her. In another, a callow screenwriter unexpectedly discovers in Rome the true meaning of art and glory. In a third, a rider far off in the fields, is involved in a grotesque accident - night is falling and she must face it alone. Each story is told with weighted calm. We are drawn into them as we might be drawn into the secret cobversations of strangers, by a lingering swirl of tone, revelation, and insight.
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Publishers Weekly, 1987-12-11 Salter's elegant prose is ideally suited to the short story form. The author of five novels (A Sport and a Pastime, Light Years) here reaches a new height of grace and breathtaking virtuosity. His settings are evoked in perfectly chosen detail and his characters, almost all denizens of the most privileged class, are defined with the same unerring precision. In these 11 short narratives, Salter intentionally paints brilliantly sunny scenes of romance and luxurious comfort, only to reveal through his characters a darkening dusk brought on by doubt, emotional disarray and the vagaries of human imperfection. In ``Foreign Shores'' a pleasant Dutch au pair is slowly discovered to have ``the morals of a housefly'' by her embittered employer, who sees her little boy embrace the departing disgraced girl and comments, ``They always love sluts.'' In ``American Express'' two young hotshot lawyers travel through Europe seeking something that becomes impossible to define, much less find. In ``Fields at Dusk'' an attractive woman in her 40s confronts loneliness and loss: ``She was a woman who lived a certain life. She knew how to give dinner parties, take care of dogs, enter restaurants . . . . She was a woman who had read books, played golf, gone to weddings, whose legs were good, who had weathered storms, a fine woman whom no one now wanted.'' Salter is a fine writer working at the top of his form. (February 22) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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