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A sport and a pastime
Synopses & Reviews
"A Sport and a Pastime is as nearly perfect as any American fiction
I know," Reynolds Price wrote of James Salter's 1967 novel that tells of the mismatched love affair between Phillip Dean, a Yale dropout adrift in Europe, and Anne-Marie Costallat, a young French shopgirl. An erotic tour de force, licentious yet pure, it is also a hymn to provincial France and has been admired and quoted from since its first publication. Its stunning knowledge and insight have the power to change lives.
It brings a kind of splendor to the life that refuses to bow to conven-
tion or mores, and, like Cavafy's poems, evokes the illicit in a way that endows it with an astonishing beauty. Brilliantly written and overwhelming in its effect, it remains a triumph on every level.
A Sport and a Pastime is an astonishing performance, the classic novel from a remarkable writer whose sentences bristle with singular passion. Salter chronicles a love affair between a young shopgirl and an American college dropout against the backdrop of provincial France. The narrators cool distillation of events — real or imagined — makes the book both lyrical, and tightly, dangerously pitched.
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