"There comes a time when you realize that everything is a dream, and only those things preserved in writing have any possibility of being real."
So reads the epigraph of James Salter's stunning new novel All That Is. For Salter, now 87, writing is a sacred act, and it is only fitting that he begins his latest novel, the capstone of his half-century-long career, by paying homage to it. "Life passes into pages," he's written elsewhere, "if it passes into anything."
And what a life, and what pages. Salter is the man many of us wish we could be—West Point grad, fighter pilot, skier, traveler, raconteur, and, from his 1957 debut novel, The Hunters, which was based on his Korean War experience flying combat missions over the Yalu, to his best books—Light Years, A Sport and a Pastime—one of the finest prose stylists and most enviable American writers of the last half century.
In All That Is, long-time fans will find a fitting addition to his canon, his powers still at full force, while those who haven't read him will find an apt introduction to a writer who remains too little known.
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