Collected Stories also available – £18.99 hardback
After a 34-year break from the novel form, 88 year-old former US fighter pilot/Hollywood screenwriter/living legend James Salter made a triumphant return this year with All That Is. Much touted by the press here as “the greatest American novelist you’ve never heard of,” Salter’s ‘final’ book is a breathtaking masterclass in gleaming-perfect sentences and beautifully controlled, utterly heartbreaking drama.
It traces the adult life of ‘Philip Bowman’, from his harrowing experiences in the navy in WWII, through his long and complicated love life and career in the bygone glory days of New York publishing. Births, marriages and deaths come and go, and not only is there loads of sex; it’s also some of the best we’ve ever seen in print. What’s not to like? All That Is is a perfect panacea of a Christmas present: if you know anyone who likes good fiction, this is for them.