Synopses & Reviews
A literary event — a major new novel, his first work of fiction in seven years, from the universally acclaimed master and PEN/Faulkner winner: a sweeping, seductive love story set in post-World War II America that tells of one man's great passions and regrets over the course of his lifetime.
From his experiences as a naval officer in battles off Okinawa during World War II, Philip Bowman returns to America and finds a position as a book editor. It was a time when publishing was still a private affair — a scattered family of small houses here and in Europe — a time of gatherings in fabled apartments, parties into the night. It is a world in which to immerse himself, a world of intimate connections and surprising triumphs. But the deal that Philip cannot seem to close is love: one marriage goes bad; another fails to happen; and, finally, he meets a woman who enthralls, then betrays him, setting him on a course he could never have imagined for himself. Written with Salter's signature economy of prose, All That Is fiercely, fluidly explores a life unfolding in a world on the brink of change: a dazzling, sometimes devastating labyrinth of love and ambition, of the small shocks and grand pleasures of being alive.
“Achingly real...the PEN/Faulkner Award-winner’s first full-length novel in more than three decades spans forty years and follows the life, career, and loves of book editor Philip Bowman. After serving in the Pacific during WWII, Bowman stumbles into publishing at a time when small houses reigned. During extravagant literary parties and travels through Europe, he shares his thoughts on authors both real and imagined. And yet his career is merely a vehicle for his loves and losses, connections made and missed. The women in his life are always inexplicable to him. But Salter renders the first blushes of Bowman’s loves exquisitely — their giddiness, occasional illicitness, eroticism — and his bewilderment after the relationships fail....Salter punctuates his elegant prose with sharp, erotic punches.” Publishers Weekly
“The best novel I’ve read in years. All That Is will be treasured by its readers. Salter’s vivid, lucid prose does exquisite justice to his subject — the relentless struggle to make good on our own humanity. Once again he has delivered to us a novel of the highest artistry.” Tim O’Brien
“A consistently elegant and enjoyable novel, full of verve and wisdom.” Julian Barnes
“Enthralling....A vividly imagined and beautifully written evocation of a postwar world.” John Banville
“A beautiful novel, with sufficient love, heartbreak, vengeance, identity confusion, longing, and euphoria of language to have satisfied Shakespeare.” John Irving
“This masterpiece is a smooth, absorbing narrative studded with bright particulars. If God is in the details, this book is divine.” Edmund White
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.
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.