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James Salter

All That Is

James Salter All That Is
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An extraordinary literary event, a major new novel by the PEN/Faulkner winner and acclaimed master: a sweeping, seductive, deeply moving story set in the years after World War II.

From his experiences as a young naval officer in battles off Okinawa, Philip Bowman returns to America and finds a position as a book editor. It is a time when publishing is still largely a private affair—a scattered family of small houses here and in Europe—a time of gatherings in fabled apartments and conversations that continue long into the night. In this world of dinners, deals, and literary careers, Bowman finds that he fits in perfectly. But despite his success, what eludes him is love. His first marriage goes bad, another fails to happen, and finally he meets a woman who enthralls him—before setting him on a course he could never have imagined for himself.

Romantic and haunting, All That Is explores a life unfolding in a world on the brink of change. It is a dazzling, sometimes devastating labyrinth of love and ambition, a fiercely intimate account of the great shocks and grand pleasures of being alive. 

“Shimmering . . . intoxicating . . . Stands with [Salter’s] best work . . . All That Is (beautiful title) . . . is Salter’s most ambitious book and, aesthetically, it’s hard not to experience it as a summing-up. . . . Few can match Salter’s depictions of life’s physical pleasures, the sheer sensual delight of being in this world. [Salter’s] worldview, which comes as close to Epicureanism as one gets in American fiction, will always prove challenging. No matter. All That Is will last.” —Gregory Leon Miller, San Francisco Chronicle

“Salter remains a writer of tremendous ability. The opening chapter, set off Okinawa during the last days of World War II, is an absolute stunner.” —Yvonne Zipp, The Christian Science Monitor

“[All That Is] more generally is a shockingly unostentatious [novel], its lack of flashiness is a thing to be savored and contemplated, not condemned. . . . Salter seems destined for the literary eons, a true American artist whose heyday of appreciation will someday come. . . . All That Is is to literature and publishing what Mad Men is to TV and advertising . . . complete with the sex and glamour and unvoiced inequality. Though Hemingway’s name frequently crops up alongside Salter’s, while the author of All That Is is no less masculine and incisive, he is far gentler, like a more expensive variety of bourbon. His novel has elegant prose [and] a marvelous, ominous lightness. . . . All That Is makes it clear that even its lengthiest episodes sill represent only a minute fraction of all that is: bittersweet surfaces, gentle, quick plunges into the infinite depth of a person, a moment, an era.” —Wyatt Miller, GALO Magazine

“Widely considered to be one of the finest prose stylists of his time, Salter’s novels, short stories, and memoirs are breathtakingly beautiful—and rare. Like comets and blue moons, a new Salter book is an event. All That Is, his long-awaited sixth novel, explores familiar Salter themes—honor, bravery, love, solitude—but, like all of Salter’s work, feels completely fresh and revelatory.” —Byliner
 
“James Salter is a brilliant writer . . . a true master of the written word. He’s perhaps among the greatest American writers alive today. . . . All That Is tells the story of the life and loves of Philip Bowman, a World War II veteran who spends a career in publishing. But what happens to Bowman—whom he loves, whom he loses—feels less important than the wisdom Salter leaves behind. . . . Lean, spare . . . Intensely beautiful.” —Associated Press
 
“Among many writers, and some literary people, [Salter] is venerated for his sentence-making, his observational power, his depictions of sex and valor, and a pair of novels that have more than a puncher’s chance at permanence. . . . Salter’s style is elliptical. The details and observations accrue in such a way—obliquely, melodiously—that they pull a reader forward in anticipation of the next unexpected leap: a stray object, an odd gesture, a bald declaration, or a rash act. He can be suddenly cruel. The syntax is cool, fine-hewn, rather than self-conscious or pyrotechnic. . . . [Salter] designed [All That Is] as a capstone, and, weary of his reputation as a stylist, tried in his way, to tell it all straight, [finding] absorption in a protagonist with, as he writes, a ‘life beyond reckoning, the life that had been opened to him and that he had owned.’ . . . You come away from his work wondering if you should have lived more, even if living more, in is work, often leads to ruin.” —Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker
 
“Breathtaking . . . The storytelling montage dazzles, magically marrying breadth and concision. . . . Salter has long been revered as a master whose chiseled sentences contain poetry and truth. . . . Now he has taken on his biggest canvas, following his characters across a half century. . . . Salter’s method here is a series of finely wrought miniatures . . . Salter has always been good on the rapture of love and great with honest, tart depictions of sex. He easily shows how lives consumed by passion can alter course in an instant. . . . Salter’s real intent is to show how [Bowman’s] life gets lived and how others—often by change—interact with it and change it. . . . Vividly sketched . . . With All That Is [he] delivers, with a romantic mosaic of lives led in those decades following the war when everything began to change. And he doesn’t let us forget—for even a paragraph—that before they are placed in a mosaic, each piece of tile or glass must be chosen, shaped and polished.” —John Barron, Chicago Tribune
 
“Exquisitely written . . . vividly rendered . . . Though an almost exact contemporary of Gass, Roth, Pynchon, and Updike, [Salter] writes like a contemporary of Styron and Mailer, determined to keep the torch of Ernest Hemingway ablaze in American prose (and not in a Raymond Carver or Richard Ford way either). Salter’s new novel is an exploration of gender misunderstandings that might have received sympathetic vibrations from Richard Yates. He writes like what he is, a former career soldier confident of the allure of a clean shave to the opposite sex.” —Jeff Simon, The Buffalo News (Editor’s Choice)
 
“A plaintive, impressionistic look at how we live in time, how little we ever understand about the amorphous shape of our own lives. . . . Salter shares many of Hemingway’s preoccupations: war, France, sumptuous food, and sex. . . . . . . A sense of nostalgia pervades the book, for not only youth but for a vanished world when ‘people still had family silver’ and publishers worked very closely with their authors. . . . [And] he offers a chillingly accurate gloss on literature’s increasingly marginal position . . . Magical.” —Lisa Zeidner, The Washington Post

“Salter is par excellence the explorer of depths, a diver seeking the hidden, vital wellsprings of our consciousness. . . . [He’s] done as much as any American writer to give us the sense of what it actually feels like to be alive and gripped by the fever of existence . . . [through] shimmering episodes of felt life.” —Chris Tucker, Dallas News
“Stunning . . . For Salter, writing is a sacred act . . . [He is] one of the fine

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