James Salter is one of the finest writers of our time. From his first published story in the Paris Review in 1968, Salter’s work in the form has been universally acclaimed: five have appeared in O. Henry collections, Dusk and Other Stories won the 1989 PEN/Faulkner Award, and more recently he was the recipient of PEN USA’s 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2010 REA Prize for the short story, and the 2012 PEN/Malamud Award.
Each indelible narrative in the Collected Stories is marked by Salter’s great literary grace, his ability to show the subtleties of a character or situation with precision, and his equally assured ability to command reversals of fortune or shocking revelations. The stories concern men and women in their most intimate moments, struggling with loss, desire, or the burden of memory. A fallen rider lies in a field, alone but for the knowledge that these may be her last twenty minutes. A man assisting in his wife’s suicide is devastated by the aftermath. Two New York attorneys on a trip to Italy discover that their recent wealth affords them the possibility of a higher life, the reality of which is somewhat sordid. A young woman is unable to share a life-changing piece of news with her closest friends.
Including his two published collections, Dusk and Other Stories (1988) and Last Night (2005), and the previously uncollected ‘Charisma’, this volume confirms indisputably that ‘James Salter is a master of the great American short story’(The Times).