12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars
so desperate to be a great writer, 1 Jun. 2013
I have read Light Years and the short stories and, for a long time, I have been in two minds about Salter - seduced by the glamorous settings and people and by the apparent elegance of his writing, but reading this (I guess his last work) I have come to the conclusion that he is nothing but a big fraud. It seems to me that this is a book by a writer in love with a certain idea of being a writer, written for people who have a certain idea of what good writing is. His prose is just so considered and lifeless and there is a kind of snobbish vanity about the narrative perspective that after a while I began to find a bit nauseating. The way he writes about Europe is so pompous and out of date, and the way he writes about love so humourless and leaden.And as for the 'characterisation'! Bowman is one of the most characterless characters I have come across in a long time, as well as being one of the most unpleasant - although you have to read between the lines a little, it becomes clear by the end of the book that he is a rapist, a homophobe and a racist - and many of the other characters are just different versions of the same type. His second and third partners, for instance, come across as exactly the same to me. There are some worthy passages here and there, but these would have been better as short stories, the only form that Salter seems to have had any luck with.