This product was added to our catalog on Sunday 24 September, 2017.
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.
"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
"Salter has been called 'The Master' . . . Bowman possesses an appreciation of his life as a kind of artistic experience unfolding only for him. . . . One of Salter’s great gifts is to allow his main characters to disappear gracefully into the universe of his books. Bowman’s life, like Salter’s, coincides almost perfectly with the rise of American power and the brief, golden era of publishing. All That Is is not only the story of Bowman’s life but also of almost every life with which his intersects, several even twice removed. . . . It’s in private moments that his prose is most effective at describing what it feels like to be alive. . . . This expansive novel is a worthy summation of his underappreciated writing life."—Nicholas Mancusi, Newsday
"Intimate, rueful and finely observed. It’s also an event: the first novel in 34 years from Salter."—Jesse Dorris, Time
For decades, James Salter has been an artistic standard-bearer. His first novel in many years begins percussively in 1944 with the unrelenting battles in the Pacific. Naval officer Philip Bowman, virginal and close to his mother, makes it safely home, moves to New York, and finds professional contentment as an editor at a small publisher. Even though he falls hard for Vivian, a wealthy southerner, he remains hermetically sealed. Their marriage fizzles quickly, and Bowman is smitten again, but he never gets it right. His obliviousness to women’s inner lives leads to a shocking betrayal, and his crueler revenge. Still, this is a desultory, oddly slippery novel as Salter slides back and forward in time, glides into the lives of other characters, and considers the decline of the novel. The many sex scenes are doleful; the pegs to world events wobbly. Yet resonant passages bloom, including one that captures the book’s subdued spirit: "The landscape was beautiful but passive. The emptiness of things rose like the sound of a choir making the sky bluer and more vast."—Donna Seaman
About the Author
James Salter (b. 1925) was a novelist, short story writer, and screenwriter. Salter grew up in New York City and was a career officer and Air Force pilot until his mid-thirties, when the success of his first novel (The Hunters, 1957) led to a fulltime writing career. Salter’s potent, lyrical prose has earned him acclaim from critics, readers, and fellow novelists. His novel A Sport and a Pastime (1967) was hailed by the New York Times as "nearly perfect as any American fiction."
- ISBN: 9781400043132
- Pages: 304
- Publisher: Knopf
- Language: English
- Format: Hardcover