Saturday, 29 March 2014

ALL THAT IS by James Salter

What I think is interesting, is how one book about a man's life can be totally different from another. STONER, one of this blog's favourite books, is all about work and failure; ALL THAT IS is all about sex. Now, my question is, is this a product of the fact that art projects need themes, and so themes are selected; or is it that people's live themselves, inherently, have different themes? I suspect its the latter.

If so, James Salter's theme is sex. Here we go:
"They made love as if it were a violent crime, he was holding her by the waist, half woman, half vase, adding weight to the act. She was crying in agony, like a dog near death. They collapsed as if stricken.

I can only say: half vase?

Sex aside, ALL THAT IS is an entertaining book. It covers the life of a man from his time in the Second World War through to his career in publishing and on to retirement. It's unusual formally, as while it is focused on the central character, it actually very largely a collection of vignettes of his acquaintance, making a sort of kaleidiscope of mid twentieth century America, which I enjoyed and found interesting.

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