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Last Night: Stories [Paperback]

James Salter
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
Price: 5.59 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

2 Mar 2007

In ten exquisite stories, Salter portrays men and women in their most intimate moments. The title piece, in which a translator assists agonizingly in his wife’s suicide even as he performs a last betrayal, has already been hailed 'a masterpiece, clearly and without question'.

‘He has written three books that everyone should read before they die . . . Last Night is a deeply gratifying reminder of what reading is for’ Independent

‘Breathtaking . . . Salter’s stories are masterpieces of poise and clarity . . . Hugely enjoyable and endlessly stimulating’ Metro , 5-star review

‘There is a steady hum of eroticism beneath his narrative and in the voluptuous restraint of his style. What else can I say? I highly recommend it’ Daily Telegraph

'James Salter is a master of the great American short story . . . Extraordinarily subtle, precise and elegant' The Times

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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; New Ed edition (2 Mar 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330448501
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330448505
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 203,831 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'10 mini masterpieces...writing that is bowstring-taut and carries considerable punch.' -- Sunday Times

'Salter is one of the masters of American prose...impeccable mix
of insight and humanity...luxurious, precise, airborne prose.' -- Metro

Book Description

In ten powerful stories, Salter portrays men and women in their most intimate moments. A book dealer faces the truth about his life—as it is and never will be again—when he is visited unexpectedly by his brash former girlfriend. A lonely married woman, after a disturbing encounter with a drunken poet at a dinner party, finds herself irresistibly drawn to his animal surrogate, a huge tawny-eyed dog. A lover of poetry must come to terms with his wife’s request to give up what may be his most treasured relationship. And in the title story, already hailed as 'a masterpiece, clearly and without question' a translator, tormented by an agonizing sense of inevitability, assists in his wife’s suicide even as he performs a last betrayal. A haunting symphony of desire, memory and loss from a writer whose assured style and emotional insight make him one of our most compelling and important literary voices at work today. 'Salter is a writer who particularly rewards those for whom reading is an intense pleasure. He is among the very few North American writers all of whose work I want to read, whose as yet unpublished books I wait for impatiently' Susan Sontag 'Salter's prose is rare and stunning' John Irving 'James Salter is the contemporary writer most admired and envied by other writers . . . He can, when he wants, break your heart with a sentence' Michael Dirda, Washington Post Book World --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A lesser work from a master of prose 17 April 2006
James Salter is a quietly legendary figure in American literature, almost an insider secret for those whose stock in trade is the use of words. One has the impression that he is read and admired almost exclusively by other writers. This, his latest book, sees him returning to the form of short stories, his first collection published since the PEN/ Faulkner award winning Dusk and other stories in 1989. Salter has long been regarded a master of sparse, measured and bewilderingly beautiful prose. He can, as was once said, break your heart with a sentence. In interviews, Salter has spoken about the exactitude with which he writes - playing sentences over and over, measuring them against a rigorous internal standard. Yet it is always prose full of immediacy, the time spent choosing fitting words repays the effort not with a weightiness but instead with a clear lightness of touch.

Salter is not the most prolific of writers - having written for short of a half century he has produced only five novels, a collection of short stories and his autobiography (there have also been film scripts). The publication of a new work is something to be greeted with excitement, albeit a rather quiet excitement. It is a shame, then, that Last Night should disappoint.

The stories in Last Night feature characters that are almost exclusively upper middle class, white, East coast Americans. Salter is trying to tell us something about them, and about himself as a part of them. They are intelligent, well schooled, always cultured and knowing. Lives are polite, correct, appearances are important. The marriages portrayed are long standing but never happy - they are artefacts of convention, the romance in them long suffocated.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed. 4 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Didn't live up to my expectations. Of course short stories don't give the authors much chance to develop a theme. Those are flimsy and far from compelling. Shame!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly wrtitten short stories 17 July 2013
I recently discovered this writer - what a find! Try these and read The Hunters, a novel about the jet pilots of the Korean war. A really great American writer.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wry reflections on relationships 17 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed these stories very much - their mixture of wry humour and sharp social observation, not obscuring darker truths, was very engaging. Slater is a fine writer, hitherto somewhat overlooked by the literary establishment, here and in America. The publication of these stories and his novels in uniform edition should redress that.
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