All That Is by James Salter

71%

10 Critic Reviews

He's a little too loftily impassive, finally, and perhaps a little too interested in creating crystalline verbal beauty, to compel the word "great", at least without strong reservations. But he is amazingly good.
-Guardian

Synopsis

An extraordinary literary event, a major new novel by the PEN/Faulkner winner and acclaimed master: a sweeping, seductive, deeply moving story set in the years after World War II.

From his experiences as a young naval officer in battles off Okinawa, Philip Bowman returns to America and finds a position as a book editor. It is a time when publishing is still largely a private affair—a scattered family of small houses here and in Europe—a time of gatherings in fabled apartments and conversations that continue long into the night. In this world of dinners, deals, and literary careers, Bowman finds that he fits in perfectly. But despite his success, what eludes him is love. His first marriage goes bad, another fails to happen, and finally he meets a woman who enthralls him—before setting him on a course he could never have imagined for himself.

Romantic and haunting, All That Is explores a life unfolding in a world on the brink of change. It is a dazzling, sometimes devastating labyrinth of love and ambition, a fiercely intimate account of the great shocks and grand pleasures of being alive. 

 

About James Salter

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James Salter is the author of five novels, including The Arm of Flesh, Solo Faces, A Sport and a Pastime, and Light Years, as well as a memoir, Burning the Days. His collection of short fiction Dusk and Other Stories was awarded the PEN/Faulkner award in 1988.
 
Published April 2, 2013 by Vintage. 299 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction
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Critic reviews for All That Is
All: 10 | Positive: 7 | Negative: 3

NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Malcolm Jones on Apr 26 2013

Set beside the flyboys and climbers of Salter’s previous books, Bowman looks unremarkable, a loner with a lowercase life and a profession to match...

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by James Lasdun on May 10 2013

He's a little too loftily impassive, finally, and perhaps a little too interested in creating crystalline verbal beauty, to compel the word "great", at least without strong reservations. But he is amazingly good.

Read Full Review of All That Is | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by James Lasdun on May 10 2013

Though it's less than 300 pages long, the sharpness and abundance of observed detail give it an epic quality.

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WSJ online

Below average
Reviewed by Lee Sandlin on Mar 29 2013

For long stretches, our hero is barely there. Scene after scene, chapter after chapter, Mr. Salter keeps ditching Philip for livelier subjects within his social circle...

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NPR

Good
Reviewed by Alan Cheuse on Apr 03 2013

The writing is not breathtaking, but breath-enhancing. One seems to draw in more oxygen; the pulse races as when viewing some gloriously rugged and fast-paced adventure movie...

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NPR

Excellent
Reviewed by Alan Cheuse on Mar 27 2013

Reading and re-reading all this, I found myself in a state that Salter's work as with the finest writers we know often induces. You breathe deeply and your pulse races. The sentences, the scenes, the life, the life.

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NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Stevie Godson on Mar 31 2013

As absorbing as the brief chapters on war are, the 87-year-old author’s scenes of seduction are equally realistic and memorable, as are his astute observations of a still-bruised England 15 years after its victory...

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Toronto Star

Good
Reviewed by Stephen Finucan on Apr 26 2013

James Salter’s prose might best be described as luminous. There is brilliance to it, and lightness.

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National Post arts

Above average
Reviewed by Philip Marchand on Apr 12 2013

The reader is certain that the couple will indeed have a great time. It is the only promise left them, along with age and death. In the language of the novel’s title, that is all that is.

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National Post arts

Good
Reviewed by Philip Marchand on Apr 12 2013

The theme is dispiriting, certainly, but the experience of reading the novel is not depressing and in fact is pleasurable, mostly because the language is so fresh, a combination of simplicity and compressed meaning.

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Reader Rating for All That Is
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Malinda Charter

Malinda Charter 22 Jul 2014

Added the book to custom list '2013 NPR'

Karen Russo

Karen Russo 5 Sep 2013

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