All That Is

All That Is From His Experiences As A Naval Officer In Battles Off Okinawa During World War II, Philip Bowman Returns To America And Finds A Position As A Book Editor He Soon Inhabits A World Where Marriages Fail As Affairs Ignite, Alcohol Reigns, Writers Struggle, And Publishers Hustle It Is A World In Which To Immerse Himself, A World Of Intimate Connections And Surprising Triumphs But The Deal That Philip Cannot Seem To Close Is Love One Marriage Goes Bad Another Fails To Happen And, Finally, He Meets A Woman Who Enthrals, Then Betrays Him, Setting Him On A Course He Could Never Have Imagined For Himself Written With Salter S Signature Economy Of Prose, All That Is Fiercely, Fluidly Explores A Life Unfolding In A World On The Brink Of Change A Dazzling, Sometimes Devastating Labyrinth Of Love And Ambition, Of The Small Shocks And Grand Pleasures Of Being Alive All That Is Is A Sweeping, Seductive Love Story Set In Post World War II America That Tells Of One Man S Great Passions And Regrets Over The Course Of His Lifetime And Draws Together The Great Themes Of Salter S Writing Warfare, Love, Sex And Marriage, And What It Means To Write

James Salter 1925 2015 was a novelist, short story writer, and screenwriter Salter grew up in New York City and was a career officer and Air Force pilot until his mid thirties, when the success of his first novel The Hunters, 1957 led to a fulltime writing career Salter s potent, lyrical prose earned him acclaim from critics, readers, and fellow novelists His novel A Sport and a Pastime

❴BOOKS❵ ✯ All That Is Author James Salter –
  • Paperback
  • 290 pages
  • All That Is
  • James Salter
  • English
  • 13 October 2019
  • 9781447238263

10 thoughts on “All That Is

  1. says:

    I found this book deeply annoying, mostly for its embedded misogyny but also for its dull protagonist and narrative torpor The perspective drifts frequently we enter the thoughts of than a dozen minor characters but never any of the protagonist s women, except for a few paragraphs late in the book when one of them is moved to cheat on him Each girlfriend s point of view is absent, presumably because, as the protagonist s mother says of his first wife, she has no soul The prose is good but not unerring Sometimes in his urge to compress the author cobbles phrases into sentences that are confusing or unintentionally comic Time and again pronoun references are unclear and have to be puzzled out through rereading The digressive plot is rich with lifelike detail but has no compelling thread we meander through brief anecdotes that are only mildly interesting, and the chapters jerk forward sometimes years at a time, revisiting characters whom we ve long forgotten, or introducing completely new ones the book includes roughly a hundred different named individuals Add to this the pervasive class snobbery it came from out of the blue but I felt a perverse gratification when the protagonist s ultimate heartthrob ran off with a blue collar type and you have a book that I would not have finished if not for its many strong reviews.

  2. says:

    the slow profound rhythm began, hardly varying but as time passed somehow and intense she was trembling like a tree about to fall I married the wrong man , she said and if you marry this book, I believe it s likely to last, the older you are.James SalterJames Salter has been called a writer s writer , the finest craftsman of the American sentence And yet before reading of him in The New Yorker earlier this year an article probably occasioned by the publication of this book I d never heard of him Salter last name originally Horowitz was born in 1926 entered West Point in 1942 at the urging of his alumnus father graduated in 1945 and entered the Army Air Corps He does not seem to have seen much in the way of combat in the War In 1947, still in the service the AAC had become the U.S Air Force he entered Georgetown University for post graduate studies, receiving a Master of Arts degree in 1950 He volunteered to serve in Korea, and arrived there early in 1952 Between February and August of that year he flew over 100 combat missions.Horowitz had begun writing in his spare time in the Air Force His first novel, based on his experiences in Korea, was The Hunters, published in 1956 and made into a movie starring Robert Mitchum and Robert Wagner in 1958 Horowitz left the Air Force in 1957 to pursue writing, having served for 12 years, the last six as a fighter pilot He cut ties with the Air Force completely in 1961 when he left the Air Force Reserve The next year he legally changed his name to Salter see Wiki All That Is When S received this book he uncharacteristically opened it up somewhere and began to read Soon he thought start at the beginning and read the book in short order for him neglecting all his other partly read books.The story, and Salter s clean, spare writing, drew him in into the story of Phillip Bowman.S soon found himself thinking of John Williams Stoner starts with a short chapter on the boy growing up, finding himself in college discovering literature He knew the story at hand was not quite like that, though it did seem a tale of another man, like Stoner, finding himself attracted to a career not foreseen by him at a younger age.But S was puzzled by the title What did it mean After comparing it with the similar All There Is, after rearranging the words into That Is All, he concluded that the title foretold a story of a man s life and all the things events, happenings that had helped to form that life The set of events that the man would retain memory of down the years, that upon reflection he would see as the events that made him what he had become, and made his life play out as it did.What sort of events Those things that have led up to and define and clarify the present, simply the setting of time and place and circumstance experiences during the war in the Pacific going to college afterward friends and family job interviews finding the spot he liked as an editor history of his mother and other characters books, writers, dinners, parties, conversations Co workers, friends made nothing remarkable about the things told, though the telling done in an economical and somehow elegant but certainly not ornate style.The main narrative moving forward through successive events and periods of Bowman s life, with details of personal background and history, Bowman s of course born in 1925, growing up in Summit New Jersey, his father leaving his mother and he the two year old but other characters as well his mother, his wife, his father in law, his best friend from work , done in brief flashbacks that can bubble up unexpectedly.And the way in which the stories, almost short stories of these other characters in Bowman s life, flow in and out and along with Bowman s story, providing supporting evidence, as it were, that their experiences, some similar to Bowman s, others very different, all adding to the catalog of all that Is.S could not decide whether any of this made the story different from many other such fictions, though there was one aspect of the set of events which seemed unusual, that being the prominence of SEXUAL experience mostly for Bowman but for his sexual partners too and sometimes even for other characters.Incidents of SEX Salter takes care to explain why the SEX events he chronicles each had a deep significance for Bowman and for the others at times.Example Bowman s first experience of intercourse with his not foreseen at the time wife to be Vivian The friend she s staying with is gone for the weekend They sat for a few moments in silence and then she simply leaned forward and kissed him The kiss was light but ardent Do you want to she asked.She did not take everything off shoes, stockings, and skirt, that was all She was not prepared for They kissed and whispered He could not believe they were doing this I don t have anything, he whispered.There was no answer.He was inexperienced but it was natural and overwhelming Also too quick, he couldn t help it He felt embarrassed Her face was close to his I m sorry, he said I couldn t stop it She said nothing, she had almost no way to judge it.She went into the bathroom and Bowman lay back in awe at what had happened and feeling intoxicated by a world that had suddenly opened wide to the greatest pleasure, pleasure beyond knowing He knew of the joy that might lie ahead She nestled against him and he tried to think along her lines Whatever might happen, they had done it He felt only exaltation.Later, a somewhat older Bowman is in Spain with a woman, Enid, whom he is wildly in love with They are both married, neither with a deep attachment to their partner They have taken opportunities as offered when he visits London for business They witness a stunning flamenco.They walked through walled alleyways, she in high heels, bare shouldered, and sat in the silent darkness as deep chords of a guitar slowly began and the air itself stilled Chord after ominous chord, the guitarist immobile and grave until a woman in a chair beside him, till then unseen, raised her arms and with a sound like gunshots began to clap her hands Slowly at first she began to chant or intone she was not singing, she was reciting what had always been known, reciting and repeating, the guitar like drums hypnotic and endless, it was the Gypsy siguiriya Her hands were up near her face, clapping her voice anguished, singing in blindness, her eyes closed, her bare arms, silver loops in her ears and long dark hair The song was her song but it belonged to the Vega, the wide plain with its sun dark workers and shimmering heat, she was pouring out life s despair, bitterness, crimes, her clapping fierce and relentless singing with ever greater intensity amid the relentless chords, the savage, tight beat of the heels the man s lean body bent like an S They sat afterwards in a bar open to the narrow street, barely speaking What did you think he said.She replied only, My God They make wild love in their room His old fettered life was behind him, it had been transformed as if by some revelation They made love as if it were a violent crime, he was holding her by the waist, half woman, half vase, adding weight to the act She was crying in agony, like a dog near death They collapsed as if striken And then again in the morning, when the slow profound rhythm began, hardly varying but as time passed somehow and intense she was trembling like a tree about to fall I married the wrong man , she said.S was at first surprised by the SEX aspect, that Salter focused so much on SEXUAL experience as such an important part of a life But then out walking he thought yes isn t it the case that of all that we remember in life, memories both GOOD and BAD the BAD memories, of pain, loss, fear the sorts of things that maybe we dream of, when we dream of our own past and yes those bad things can involve SEX also, rape, violent coercion but those memories not really memories of SEX, rather memories of FEAR AND PAIN the memories we retain of sex, of particular sexual experiences, are GOOD, are memories that if one is lucky, if one isn t haunted in waking by BAD memories fuel our reveries, those daydreams of the past that come unbidden, and though unbidden somehow appear often than memories we invite these memories come without invitation, over and over throughout life, on a merry go round pushed again and again by nothing than a sound, a few notes from a song, a word, even a remembrance of something else which somehow chains into the other all roads lead to and all those roads lead here because this place stands out from all the rest.S wondered, would the partner remember the same things And if so, for the same reasons He had never asked, probably never would Do you remember the time What if no Would he want to venture into that strange landscape, where something so significant, and magnificent, to him was utterly unnoticed by the journey s partner Time to move on. .Previous review Finnegan s WakeNext review The New Bill James Historical Baseball AbstractOlder review Nietzsche Philosopher, Psychologist, AntichristPrevious library review Portnoy s Complaint RothNext library review The Killer Angels Shaara

  3. says:

    The people who review All That Is as though they expect to find all things fair and proper, are missing the point about Salter Think of hims as a painter Like Degas or Vermeer and you ll find the path I was lucky enough to hear him interviewed on Thursday night at the Irish Art Center, and suddenly it was clear He means to paint portraits of the lives around him Not his point of view Not what he wishes might be there Not what the world needs for fairness Just what he sees And if he uses language instead of color, it s just as much a portrait We don t ask ourselves questions about the fairness of the servant class and their employers in old Amrsterdam, when we look at Vermeer We don t ask whether or not Degas understands or cares about the inner life of dancers their hopes or aspirations Or whether the horses at his race meetings have been ridden too hard We just love the beautiful, beautiful pictures The skill, the artistry, the color, the line, the light we re delighted to find these things available to us And we should be Captured and held for us to view and consider and appreciate So, that s Salter s gift These marvelous bits of life Caught and perfectly rendered and held in time for us and all who follow I began with All That Is and I am making my way through all of his novels and loving it If you re reading this review in hopes of finding a reason to read Salter or not I urge you to pick him up You ll not find it easy to stop reading And I think you ll appreciate the gorgeous prose, the real skill and the find line of rare and wonderful talent.

  4. says:

    I ve read a lot of James Salter recently and this probably is my least favourite The writing here on the whole is less inspired than in his other books And there s not much plot It s an attempt to narrate the life of one man throughout his adult life his childhood is mysteriously omitted Bowman, the hero, is a New York editor and the novel is a series of meetings with privileged individuals who will influence his life There are lots of parties and lots of flirting Often Salter delves momentarily into these other lives before returning once again to Bowman As usual Salter is very interested in sex He seems to have an exaggerated notion of the importance of sex in life There s the suspicion he was a womaniser in real life as his characters are constantly using sex as a regenerative boost I can t say it was terribly clear what Salter wanted to say in this book Bowman seemed incapable of love Infatuation is his favourite state and when it begins to fade his eye starts to wander again There s a brutal twist but its outcome is oddly anaemic 3.5 stars.

  5. says:

    Having read this book in short order, I took some time afterward to let it wash over certain I had missed something Is the grand statement embedded in the title All That Is Is this dull cycle of lust, bordeom, and betrayal all that there is in life If that s the message, then Salter is a bit late to the party Nihilism has been explored ad nauseum, and we don t need another book with nothing new to say on the subject But perhaps I missed something.I felt that Bowman, our main character flawed as he is represents Salter s version of the enlightened man a bit too obviously for my taste The entire narrative is a series of case studies of Bowman keeping his head above water by adhering to his own personal read generic brand of nihilism Then every person he meets along the way actually invests themselves wholly in their lives, only to be painted as noble fools who have the rug pulled out from underneath them The message seems clear live in the moment, and live for yourself, because this is all there is.That s not how life is, though If that s all you ve seen of life, then it s not because you have experience but rather a deficit of it Flying around to various countries, reading books, and having sex with dozens of people doesn t even begin to count as living Living is something that happens when you connect with the living something that involves others Bowman never steps out of his head not for a second I guess it s too scary out there I was disappointed that Salter let Bowman think he had really given his best to Vivian, his wife, and in so many other situations when he really had not But wait, you will say Bowman was emotionally connected with so many people Surely that counts as living Emotions mean nothing, at the end of the day Actions mean everything, and Bowman is not a man of action Being in love is not the same as loving someone, and laying down your own life every day for them THAT is what love is, and Bowman never did it It cost him nothing Nothing cost Bowman anything Even Christine s trick only cost him some money at first, but we re lead to believe that she took over the mortgage anyway If it didn t cost anyone anything, then it didn t mean anything.If I ve somehow missed the mark on this, then I m sorry If Salter s whole point was to say something about how sad Bowman s life was, I don t think he did it If he says anything, it s that Bowman s way is the right way.Nope Sorry, James It s not Try again.People have mentioned how beautiful the prose is Salter s got a gift for putting words together I ll give him that However, so much of the structure of this book reads as someone s amateur idea of a unique tone Really, it s just poor structure Unless you re trying to help the reader get inside the mind of someone on drugs or with a mental condition, jumping willy nilly between perspectives 10 different ones in the first chapter I counted is empty It might be a stylistic choice, but it means nothing, and is therefore empty.If I could sum up this book, I would say it is a cheap but pretty, empty flower vase that was set under the sink twenty years ago, and has been polished up and presented as a gift Hope they kept the receipt, but probably not.

  6. says:

    A look back to another time, from the 1945 end of World War Two into the 1970s before the twin movements of anti establishment youth culture and first wave feminism changed everything Salter clearly looks back fondly on this time but it is as a time that is gone forever and now seems like an alien culture In the hands of a lesser writer this tale of culture, class, power and wealth would be a miserable failure Salter is often defined, in an almost obligatory fashion, as a writer s writer I take this to mean that no matter the story, no matter how outr it might be, a writer, a professional lover of language, will drink deeply of the novel s craft This is, in part, because Salter is a spare writer and his sentences are crafted with exquisite care One could adequately comment on the book with a series of quotations which if only peripherally related would still be entrancing The book is moored definitely in its time but the specifics of the time are rare There a one sentence comment on the Kennedy assassination and Vietnam is summed up in another exquisite observation Everything, during this time, was overshadowed by the war in Vietnam The passions of the many against the war, especially the youth, were inflamed There were the endless lists of the dead, the visible brutality, the many promises of victory that were never kept until the war seemed like some dissolute son who cannot ever be trusted or change but must always be taken in The story itself is a kind of anti bildungsroman The main protagonist, Philip Bowman, comes home from the Pacific War changed in some subtle way He attempts to become a journalist but ends up as an editor in a small literary publishing house He falls deeply in love with a young Virginia aristocrat but their marriage, to the relief of both, quietly falls apart Bowman meets many women with whom he also falls deeply in love with and has athletic sex with in a variety of locales It becomes a vacuous, amoral, purposeless world of sensual eroticism Unlike our hookup culture that promises no commitment, no promises and no tomorrows the world of this book is populated by men falling completely, head over heels deeply in love Sex is a part of it but the sex is also surrounded by comfortable domesticity and the symbols of high culture museums, plays, dinner parties, European vacations, and always, lots of very fine liquor There is a broad cast of characters that Salter will often introduce with a complete back story and then have them participate in some small aspect of Bowman s life before shuffling offstage The reader follows Bowman through these adventures, as he interacts with the world of high culture as it existed until the late 1960s For anyone familiar with TV s Mad Men, Bowman is in many aspects a sophisticated version of Don Draper The book has its shocking moments , an act of unparalleled venality and an act of surreal revenge are but the two most obvious On the other hand, this lovingly detailed look at a vanished world seems like an act of homage from the 88 year old Salter There is much to admire or perhaps envy of this time As the book concludes Bowman has aged and his last comments seem very much of their author The power of the novel in the nation s culture had weakened It had happened gradually It was something everyone recognized and ignored All went on exactly as before, that was the beauty of it The glory had faded but fresh faces kept appearing, wanting to be part of it, to be in publishing which had retained a suggestion of elegance like a pair of beautiful, bone shined shoes owned by a bankrupt man Those who had been in it for some years were like nails driven long ago into a tree that then grew around them.This passage of time and of the changes time inevitably brings fuel the elegiac tone here For time, passing time is surely Salter s theme here, that and the difficulty of knowing ourselves in any serious manner The last lines of the book emphasize this when Bowman, old but not alone, says 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 One reviewer noted that Salter is as close to an Epicurean writer as we are likely to get and that it is this factor that makes his work difficult for those gentle readers still attached to the literary form.

  7. says:

    I forced myself to finish this book True, for the last 30% or so, I flipped the digital pages quickly I was determined to reach the end to see why, oh why, chose it as a Best Book of the Month and the blurbers raved Why do the blurbers rave I admit that the language is often well done The sample that I downloaded, the first pages, were fine.But it is a novel devoid of plot It is a pointless pastiche of vignettes about the protagonist s empty sexual conquests and the vacuity of his life.I had never read anything by James Salter before Indeed, I had never heard of him If, as some of the reviewers claim, this is his greatest work, I now know why.A pointless book about a pointless life.

  8. says:

    Oh how I wanted to love theeIt s a little cruel to have to choose how many stars to give this book My heart was oscillating between two or three Both seemed cruel but I chose two.I adore James Salter Light Years was such a luminous, haunting book Burning The Days was such an energetic, urgent memoir.What happened to the energy, the urgency, the passionate, beating heart of life Is this really all that is I certainly hope not.I was tremendously bored throughout the novel I was devastated to be bored but I need to be honest and could not bring myself to care about this character for one second Where was his interior life What were his struggles Where was the adversity I felt as if I was constantly floating in some ethereal world where absolutely nothing happens, where women were nothing but goddesses , with high cheekbones and perfect limbs, nothing but empty vessels to be filled literally by the narrator s glorious manhood A world where life was nothing but a succession of low lit bars and drinks and elegant restaurants and glamorous apartments A life unmoored, inconsequential, detached, painfully meaningless A narrator who only seemed to come to life briefly though his sexual encounters, before dissolving again in melancholy and nostalgia Beautiful sentences and there are quite a few here, lighting up the darkness could not mask the absolute emptiness that lay at the heart of this book for me A beautiful disaster My biggest literary disappointment of the year.

  9. says:

    2.0 faint and distant STARSPerhaps I ve become addicted to no that s not correct perhaps I ve come to expect gruesome violence, sexual abuse, explicit sexual encounters often to the point of depraved deviance or some degree of pedophilia or child exploitation in every book I read these days It seems the most popular books or those produced by new, up and coming authors invariably contain some version of these themes Perhaps these themes are necessary to satisfy the demands of the marketplace I wonder this book was just the opposite, a refreshingly simple yet thoughtful read featuring a comforting writing style but in the end, a read that lacked any bite or sting, no electrifying twists or turns, not a whimper of surprise or revelation This was a very simple, straight forward story about searching for and finding love, losing love and growing older, maybe wiser I think that was the point anyway Hard to say The author s way with words kept me coming back for but after a few chapters I got restless and fidgety, like a very long car ride scenery is extraordinarily beautiful in the beginning but after a few hours that same beautiful scenery losses its luster very, very quickly.Anyway, the story is about Philip Bowman, returning to America after serving in the U.S Navy in the Pacific during WWII He s a book editor and loves the buzz of the literary world Decades later, when U.S officials are engaged in month after month of fruitless negotiations in Paris seeking an end to the Vietnam war, Bowman has married and divorced his wife Vivian, watched his affair with Edina in London slowly fade away and suffered bitter betrayal by Christine, the woman he truly adored.There are a gazillion characters in this book, divorce and re marriage are common occurrences and Philip s sexual encounters frequent albeit modestly elucidated The character development was extraordinarily thin but with so many characters, any expectations of deep character understanding are probably unrealistic The tale had hints of soulful sorrow and melancholy reminiscence but nothing that ripped at my heartstrings.Ok, my diplomatic gloves are off this book was a bore, a mild sedative, a hypnotic daydream To be fair the story did make me take a look at where I ve been in my life so far and consider what the years ahead have in store for me but often than not I was screaming out loud for some action big sigh of resignation Perhaps I am addicted to the violence and gore of newer fiction after all

  10. says:

    So damn good At , we picked this as a Best Book of the Month In my review I wrote Beneath the deceptively straightforward coming of age and growing old narrative boy meets girl, loses girl meets, loses meets, loses lurks the deeply personal story of what it meant to be a 20th century man Phillip Bowman is the archetype of the flawed, ambitious, lust filled American male He s Don Draper He s Rabbit Angstrom He s your dad He s my dad Also named Phil also from New Jersey What s truly astounding here is the writing, from a master who happens to be an octogenarian Salter crafts beautiful sentences He creates characters, lives, entire worlds in just a page or two He s also capable of some blushingly evocative sex scenes again, impressive for a man approaching 90 Profound and lush, this is a book to savor It s the sweeping story of a complicated, error filled, fully wrung out life A guy s life A good life See of my Best of the Month reviews All That Is

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *