Sunday 4 August 2013

All That Is

Finished August 4
All That Is by James Salter

A very different book, character-driven rather than plot-driven.The main character her is Philip Bowman, a man who served in the navy in the Pacific in World War II, went on to college, and became an editor at a New York publishing house.
We see Philip's relationships with women over the years, marriage, affairs, loves and lusts. But it is not only his life we see. There are vignettes of others, some peripheral people in Bowman's life, others who played a larger role.We see the differences between how people see themselves and how others see them. The illusions and the vanities. The decades covered here were a time of great change, changes in art, culture, sexual norms, ease of travel and we see these reflected in Philip's life over this time. We see Philip's thoughts from time to time, about his life and about life in general, about his lovers and about himself.
This is also about the world of publishing, the travel, the parties and dinners, the wooing of authors. We see the industry as it was, made up of many small publishing houses.
This is a quiet book, a book that reveals a life, moments in lives, but doesn't judge or analyze.

1 comment:

  1. I like your description of it being a Quiet book. Few are these days.