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This review is from: All That Is (Hardcover)
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I'm a fan of James Salter, particularly 'Light Years' and 'The Hunters', so was looking forward to his new book and, in my opinion, 'All That Is' is equally as elegant and memorable as those earlier novels.
The story details the life and relationships of Philip Bowman, as he leaves the army after World War Two and joins a small book publishers. We explore his life principally through a series of relationships that he has with different women throughout his life.
Each chapter reads like a short, carefully crafted vignette as we progress through Bowman's life - and occasionally the narrative takes a detour to explore the lives of Bowman's friends and family. Reading Salter's words, I found I was ultimately happy for the story to drift just about anywhere - as his writing remains such an enormous pleasure to read.
I found 'All That Is' a satisfying, but melancholic read. I didn't find Bowman an unpleasent or unsympathetic character, but his relationships with women were so grounded in his physical desire that, as they inevitably began to unravel, he ultimately cut a lonely and rather unhappy character.