James Salter

James Salter flew in combat in Korea in 1952. His most recent novel, All That Is, was reviewed by James Meek.

The age of flight had barely begun in 1914 – the Wright brothers flew at Kitty Hawk in 1903 – but it had developed swiftly. The Wrights’ airplane – in the shape of a big box kite, made of spruce and muslin – flew at a speed of about seven miles an hour, not much faster than a man walking briskly beside it. By 1908 an improved version went forty miles an hour, and a year after that Blériot, in a plane of his own design, flew across the English Channel. When the war broke out airplanes were being used primarily for reconnaissance, but soon started firing at one another with small arms, and then progressively machine guns appeared.

Salter’s images are an aspect of the virtuosity that makes him singular: his mastery of time, the raw material of narrative fiction.

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Full of Hell: James Salter

Fatema Ahmed, 5 February 2004

In his memoir, Burning the Days (1997), James Salter tells a story about an encounter between William Faulkner and an officer from the local airbase in Greenville, Mississippi in the early 1950s....

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Graham Hough, 3 April 1980

No doubt it is yet another symptom of the decline of the West that we can so rarely afford proper novels nowadays, only skimpy little pieces of 130 pages or so, barely enough to last from dinner...

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