One of the most moving novels I read last year was James Salter’s All That Is. While an excellent book, I found myself more moved and perplexed by my lack of previous exposure to Salter. All That Is is a novel so inspiringly precise that it makes me turn inward and try to find all the moments in my past where Salter eluded me. Where was Salter when I was discovering the triumvirate of Bellow, Roth and Updike? All That Is is the work of a great American novelist who has no business being in the shadows of those more outspoken (and often incendiary) authors. Salter is in his late eighties, and I am certain in ten years the reading public will wish they’d lauded him with more praises and awards while they had the chance.
As a collector, I patiently focus my efforts on a handful of authors instead of trying to accumulate everything great I come by. A focused library will lead to incremental levels of completion that I feel will be more rewarding than a wide array of assorted first editions. Upon finishing All That Is, I promptly added Salter to my list and am on the hunt rarities, such as this signed first edition of Dusk. Originally published in 1988 by North Point Press, Dust collects a number of short stories originally published in The Paris Review and Grand Street.
Ivan Vladislavic, Double Negative