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Last Night By James Salter

Last Night
by James Salter

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A haunting symphony of desire, memory and loss from an American master of fiction
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Last Night Summary

Last Night: Stories by James Salter

In ten exquisite stories, Salter portrays men and women in their most intimate moments. The title piece, in which a translator assists agonizingly in his wife's suicide even as he performs a last betrayal, has already been hailed 'a masterpiece, clearly and without question'.

`He has written three books that everyone should read before they die . . . Last Night is a deeply gratifying reminder of what reading is for' Independent

`Breathtaking . . . Salter's stories are masterpieces of poise and clarity . . . Hugely enjoyable and endlessly stimulating' Metro , 5-star review

`There is a steady hum of eroticism beneath his narrative and in the voluptuous restraint of his style. What else can I say? I highly recommend it' Daily Telegraph

'James Salter is a master of the great American short story . . . Extraordinarily subtle, precise and elegant' The Times

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Last Night Reviews

"A glowing gem in Salter's remarkable body of work. "Last Night "should be X-rated, not for its eroticism, although there is that, but to forewarn the uninitiated of its scalding truths about the deceptions and devastations of love . . . Beyond the purity of language and the skill, each story has at its heart an underlying sensibility that treasures each moment of beauty, each burning day . . . Astonishing, haunting, heartbreaking."-"Los Angeles Times Book Review"" ""Sophisticated, refreshing. Evoke[s] John Cheever [in] the flawless cadence of the narrative, the elegance of the style and the way the stories are filled with emotions without ever becoming sentimental . . . Wonderful." -Cleveland" Plain Dealer" "Exquisite, pitch-perfect, timeless . . . You can practically smell the cigarette smoke and hear the booze-scratched timbre of Salter's characters' voices . . . In this era of chatter and distraction, Salter's carefully honed stories offer a welcome precision." -"San Francisco Chronicle" "The maestro constantly stirs you as you read . . . The sentences alone create a certain breathlessness. Paradise, in Salter's fiction, has always already been lost. Yet the memory of a greener time persists, if only in his prose. While reading it, how happy one is." -"Chicago Tribune""Terrific fiction, written by an important writer . . . All of these stories share Salter's exquisite prose, his talent for flitting gracefully between points of view, his uncanny ability to sum up a character in a single detail . . . Salter's people are smart, witty, libidinous and romantic, likely to experience their most important personal epiphanies at dinner parties or infashionable restaurants. And almost all of the stories revolve around relationships in one way or another: faltering marriages, missed opportunities and betrayals, past loves resurfacing in unexpected ways. More than that, each of these stories has a secret hidden beneath a seemingly innocuous veneer, a moment at which Salter reveals that everything is not as it seems, [a moment in which] the story pivots on its axis and becomes something altogether richer and more complex . . . In an ideal world, his books would leap from shelf to cash register . . . These stories should be read and savored."-"Washington Post Book World" "The ragged tumult of intimacy has long been the province of James Salter, writer of the exquisitely appropriate sentence; the excruciatingly penetrating short story; the impressionistic, incandescent novel. In "A Sport and a Pastime, Light Years" (arguably one of the best novels ever) and "Solo Faces," he has taken the art of fiction into a realm all his own; in "Burning the Days" and "Gods of Tin," he has made nonfiction high art. In his latest, "Last Night," neither his style nor his content flags. He writes with intensity and serious intent, illuminating those places we try to hide, never letting us off the hook . . . Salter is a master at capturing that moment when matters go completely and unexpectedly awry. He then mines that moment for all its beauty, horror, poignancy, love, lust, loss, grief and confusion, and renders it in unforgettable prose."-"Seattle Times" "Salter's prose inspires revelations."-"The New York Post" "If you put John Updike's short fiction on the Atkins diet for a month, you might end up with something like JamesSalter's lean and powerful new collection, "Last Night. "These stories unfold in the dark flower of relationships one petal at a time. As in Updike's world, Salter's men hold their cards close and keep their women at bay. Old girlfriends, current paramours and the dreams caught up with sexual freedom haunt the husbands of this book. These stories speak to human frailty without fear, and they hint at the way regret lingers around the faithful like fog to a streetlamp."-"Philadelphia Weekly" "One of the best, most adult collections to appear in a long while . . . The feelings of Mr. Salter's characters are lean and instantaneous. They deliver minimalist dialog that is more Hollywood than noir . . . Tragedy, then, is not the slow burn of the unfortunate but the sudden tumble of the rich. In several stories, it is a quick, indelible dinner conversation. Even Mr. Salter's prose works by this puncture aesthetic . . . Perhaps this is why so many writers admire Mr. Salter: because he seems to do what he does in a single sentence. But it takes an entire story to smooth out the tablecloth; only then can he stain it."-"New York Sun" "In his new collection, James Salter displays the kind of precise mastery of language that has led him to be described as a 'writer's writer.' However, these explorations of love, dreams, disappointment and betrayal show that his insight into universal themes is more than a match for his literary prowess: This stunning collection confirms that he is also undoubtedly a reader's writer. Salter captures the essence of a moment or character using only its sparest elements. Like light striking water at just the right angle, his language makes these storiesshimmer with life . . . He limns the subtle layers of relationships that Hollywood tends to forget; the moments that reach deeper into the heart than histrionic epiphanies and sunset endings because they acknowledge the shadowy illogic of human emotions . . . Salter's characters suffer the unglamorous defeats and disappointments of love. [He] avoids the black-and-white morality of wrong vs. wronged. Instead, he leads us through the inexplicable geography of emotions that lie in between. He navigates the territory with exceptional insight and skill: Bitter or silent, awkward or serene-or as clear and bright as morning light-Salter writes it just the way it is." -"Rocky Mountain News" "Splendid . . . Perfectly constructed and marvelously accurate prose portraits . . . Salter gives up the vital facts about his characters slowly, almost on a need-to-know basis. The job of telling what his people are really like is accomplished by peeling off layer after layer of their public face. It is not until the end of the story that we see the full man or woman and often the portrait is much different than what we anticipated . . . [The title story is] a masterpiece . . . Salter's touch is always sure and his words precise. [Each story] rewards us many times over."-"Newark Star-Ledger" "One hesitates to use the term "writer's writer," . . But James Salter is a writer's writer, and his latest story collection shows why. Spare, deceptively simple prose like this is hard to come by, and if you read it with a sharp mind, you'll pick up the unexpected curveballs that leave many of Salter's colleagues and acolytes swooning . . . Salter captures his characters in a few short scenes, but each story packs in a lifetime of real feeling. Quiet and genteel though they may be, these people are capable of wicked betrayal, and they aren't jaded to its consequences . . . [Here] we can feel the seductive power of words."-"Time Out New York ""Stories of memory, love, war and the passage of time, how we change and how we don't change, whether there is any connection between our young selves and our older selves . . . You don't just meet his characters as they're living now, but you learn how they looked and lived before . . . The stories are compact, intimate, some born from a single sentence . . . A collection preoccupied with time and legacy."-"Associated Press" "James Salter is one of a handful of writers whose name is uniformly uttered in reverence by fellow writers . . . "Last Night "is clearly the work of a writer with the perspective of years, the long view. The stories often focus upon those pivotal moments that, in retrospect, shape a life-missed chances, wrong paths taken, that one opportunity that a character did or didn't take . . . Mysterious and evocative, and utterly beautiful in its language . . . Salter can toss off sentences [that] stop you cold in their lyric precision seemingly at will, two or three on every page . . . What also comes through Salter's fiction is wisdom, earned from a well-lived life."-"Hartford Courant" "We sometimes come late to treasure we should have found long ago. For me, it is the writing of James Salter . . . "Last Night "has all of the trademark precision and melody he is known for . . . Elegant . . . In the Salter story, the table will be set, there will be wide doors with curved brass handles, deep armchairs, and Vuillard prints on the walls. The bed linens will be turned back and someone will be in tears . . . Salter is such a paradox to read. On the one hand, you have these pages of pliant and mellifluous prose, as fine and as sumptuous as a seven-course French dinner, hinting at life as comely as those meals. And then you have his characters in all their splendid shambles."-"The Buffalo News" "Perhaps this collection of Salter's artful yet definitely embraceable short stories will shake him free of his reputation as a writer's writer. There is nothing wrong, of course, with being someone other writers like to read, but in Salter's case a writer's writer is also someone "anyone "who appreciates good writing would enjoy. There are 10 stories here, and not one fails to showcase his superior talent in the form: his prose style, which is subtle but not abstruse, and his stories' points, which are also subtle, but never vague. He deals in the broad subject of relationships, but . . . finds corners of peculiarity to illuminate. The story 'Comet' [is a] masterpiece. The title story is a tour de force about assisted suicide gone wrong-for several reasons. . . Salter's genius is most apparent in the effectiveness of his short and direct dialogue, which he uses not only to reflect real people talking but also to distill character to sheer essence."-"Booklist "(starred) "Matchless narrative economy and

About James Salter

James Salter is the author of numerous books, including the novels Solo Faces, Light Years, A Sport and a Pastime, The Arm of Flesh (revised as Cassada), and The Hunters; the memoirs Gods of Tin and Burning the Days; the collections Dusk and Other Stories, which won the 1989 PEN/Faulkner Award, and Last Night, which won the Rea Award for the Short Story and the PEN/Malamud Award; and Life Is Meals: A Food Lover's Book of Days, written with Kay Salter. He died in 2015.

Additional information

Last Night: Stories by James Salter
James Salter
Used - Very Good
Pan Macmillan
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
This is a used book - there is no escaping the fact it has been read by someone else and it will show signs of wear and previous use. Overall we expect it to be in very good condition, but if you are not entirely satisfied please get in touch with us.