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All That Is (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – Rauer Buchschnitt, 2. April 2013

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Gebundene Ausgabe, Rauer Buchschnitt, 2. April 2013
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“Haunting . . . Salter [is] maybe our best (and classiest) erotic novelist. In All That Is, as with much of Salter’s work, plot isn’t why you turn the page. You do so because you become fully immersed and interested in the lives he describes. The story of Philip Bowman, told in spare and compact language, [is] potent.” —Monte Burke, Forbes
“Always an autobiographical writer, Salter here verges on the roman à clef; incidents, anecdotes, and people from his past are repurposed into mesmerizing fiction. . . . One feels the intensity of lived experience behind every line of All That Is. The facts may not reflect wie es eigentlich gewesen but the emotions are real, the events personally meaningful. Yet this is art too. Salter and his friends are not just transformed, they are transfigured, made radiant. . . . What makes this all so engaging is, first of all, Salter’s gravely serious, precise, and musical prose, the close attention to the diction and rhythms of every phrase and paragraph. Just a word or two and even a minor character springs to life. . . . Second, there is the book’s narrative architecture, the pleasing variousness of its scenes, chapters that might almost be short stories. . . . . Third, the book possesses, like virtually all of Salter’s work, a Japanese simplicity and purity of line. Nothing goes on too long. No one ever shouts. Hearts break and lives are broken, but Salter’s voice remains hushed, confiding, wise. Cheap art distracts, great art consoles. There is, however, a surprisingly strong extraliterary dimension to the book. . . . One can open to any page of Salter and find a striking image. . . . Salter, however, shouldn’t be appreciated just for his epigrammatic sentences. The opening chapter of All That Is may well be the best piece of sustained descriptive prose he has ever written. . . . After years of being ‘becalmed,’ Salter has now rightly come to be regarded as one of the great writers of his generation.” —Michael Dirda, The New York Review of Books

“A much-anticipated occasion . . . At 87, Salter is one of the last writers of his generation (he went to high school with William F. Buckley and Jack Kerouac), and All That Is is firmly rooted in midcentury America. There is a gauzy, drifting quality to both Bowman’s life and Salter’s style. . . . This technique creates an uneasy suspension of gravity and evanescence, a sense of Bowman’s life being at once deep and slight. All That Is seems to hint that though Philip Bowman is the protagonist, the book could have just as easily been about any of the other players, that all lives are of the same heft. This is the way of the world, of course. To ourselves, our story is meaningful, even profound. But to the sweep of time and humanity, we are largely incidental. Depending on your perspective, this is either a mere matter of fact or a deeply melancholic notion—and Salter plays it both ways. There are many erotic interludes. In Salter’s work, sex is a corporeal ecstasy and an existential salve. Though here, the carnal passages have a palpable sense of an older man’s nostalgia for the revelatory possibilities of sexual encounters. . . . As with Salter’s other books, All That Is presents such a cogent portrait of restive loneliness that one feels implicated just by reading it, as if one’s own life is also subject to his vision. That is, the book feels very true, even if the lives of the characters are quite different from our own.” —Brian Thomas Gallagher, The Seattle Times

“Salter’s tone combined with the post-World War II setting gives this work the feel of something from an earlier generation. With the ever-changing panorama of New York City and New York publishing as background, Salter addresses time, love, and the mystery and wonder of life itself.” —Lawrence Rungren, Library Journal
“Salter has been called ‘The Master’ . . . Bowman possesses an appreciation of his life as a kind of artistic experience unfolding only for him. . . . One of Salter’s great gifts is to allow his main characters to disappear gracefully into the universe of his books. Bowman’s life, like Salter’s, coincides almost perfectly with the rise of American power and the brief, golden era of publishing. All That Is is not only the story of Bowman’s life but also of almost every life with which his intersects, several even twice removed. . . . It’s in private moments that his prose is most effective at describing what it feels like to be alive. . . . This expansive novel is a worthy summation of his underappreciated writing life.” —Nicholas Mancusi, Newsday
“Salter [is] epicurean, a catalogist of earthly delights [with] a penchant for doting on details of luxuriousness. . . . He's often subtle, yet well versed in the appreciation of opulent surroundings. Here is an author who is known for lacing a magnanimous amount of detail into a paragraph without the clutter of unnecessary words. There lies a calm presence, a voice that embodies poetry. . . . Salter's brilliant economy of prose in sentences [is] utterly singular.” —Sabra Embury, Bookslut
All That Is reads like [Salter’s] own particular bird’s-eye of the reality he believes in, cherishes, proffers to readers as worthy of transcription from ‘dream’ to immortality . . . a kind of impressionistic record of Salter’s memory—the people, places, emotions, perceptions, and anecdotes that have stuck, and have thus mattered. . . . Dear reader, here is reality, and a record of what has mattered. Fiction (character) and memory (author) dance together elegantly here, with a signature strangeness. . . . In All That Is, there is a compelling and beautiful dance between the foregrounding and backgrounding of characters, lives, narratives.” —Sonya Chung, The Millions
“Big in its ambitions, episodic in its structure, and written in prose deliberately lacking in ‘ecstatic lines,’ ‘showy’ sentences. It’s a sad, hopeful work that beautifully evokes the pleasures and disappointments of a life lived in books, relationships, America.” —Jonathan Lee, Guernica
“A meticulous stylist, the octogenarian [Salter] has a new novel, All That Is: a sexy, bittersweet story set in the New York publishing world after World War II.” —Los Angeles Times
“It’s tempting to view Salter’s latest as his ultimate statement on sex, war, art and other big themes that he’s chewed over for more than 50 years. The author avoids tidy summation. Like his classics, All That Is sprawls out in a sensuous dream state, framing life as a series of concentrated moments rather than a march toward meaning. . . . As in A Sport and a Pastime, the writer portrays sex—in his luminous, prose-poem style—as a supernatural force: consuming and even destructive, but also wondrous. . . . Here the author constructs a world of fascinating personalities to surround his leading man . . . Salter’s brief yet penetrating descriptions of these bit players lend All That Is a panoramic sweep; it chronicles a generation, not just a single life. Without resorting to meaning-of-it-all fuss, the book earns its grand title, reading like a humble keystone in one of the great bodies of work in contemporary American fiction.” — Hank Shteamer, Time Out New York

“Intimate, rueful and finely observed. It’s also an event: the first novel in 34 years from Salter.” —Jesse Dorris, Time
“Candidly piercing . . . swiftly acute . . . [a] novel inhabited by an implacable sense of fate. . . . Delicious.” —Ron Slate, On the Seawall

“Gorgeous . . . classic Salter: lithe, concrete, varied in rhythm, fluidly descriptive. . . . Salter’s masterful prose remains irrefutably engaged with the existential perception of life. . . . Elegantly written.” —Holloway McCandless, Shelf Awareness
“A crowning achievement. . . . If there were a Mount Rushmore for writers, [Salter] would be there already. . . . With the publication of All That Is, an ambitious departure from his previous work, Salter has demolished any talk of twilight. Moreover, this novel casts the last four decades in a completely new light, not coda but overture. The brilliantly compressed stories in which life is lit by lightning flash, the humane memoir that generously exalts, more than anything, the lineaments of ordinary existence—it’s all here, subsumed and assimilated in the service of a work that manages to be both recognizable (no one but Salter could have written it) and yet strikingly original, vigorous proof that this literary lion is still very much on the prowl. . . . Here, as always, this writer so at war with the obvious uncovers radiance in even the most melancholy circumstance, applying to it the same rigor he uses to scrutinize and dismiss any easy, conventional notions about heroism or the honorable life. . . . With his customary knack for scenes and characters chiseled with a stonecutter’s economy, Salter constructs Bowman’s world out of dozens of glistening miniatures, each bristling with life (actually the artist Salter most closely resembles is Degas, with his icy regard and discerning, sensual eye); and while there is a generous amount of carnality, the sex is always lyrically economical. What redeems Bowman—what gives him grace—are his unstinting capacity for watchfulness, and his embrace of memory as a bulwark against oblivion.” —Malcolm Jones, The New Yor...


A major new novel from the universally acclaimed master and PEN/Faulkner winner James Salter. A sweeping, seductive love story set in the years after World War II. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Audio CD.

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Von Michael Dienstbier TOP 500 REZENSENT am 8. Juni 2014
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Weltweit flippten die Kritiker aus, als der 87-jährige James Salter 2013 seinen neuen Roman veröffentlichte. In seltener Einigkeit wurde "All that is" als Meisterwerk gefeiert. Der Roman beschreibt das Leben von Philip Bowman, der nach dem Ende des Zweiten Weltkrieges als junger Mann in die Heimat zurückkehrt, in einem Verlag als Lektor beginnt und dort in den kommenden Jahren äußerst erfolgreich Karriere macht. Mit den Frauen läuft es jedoch nicht so gradlinig; sie kommen und gehen, Ehen scheitern, doch nie findet Bowman so etwas wie dauerhaftes Glück und das Gefühl, dass er etwas entbehrt, lässt ihn ein Leben lang nicht los.

So weit der eher simpel klingende Plot. Das Besondere an Salter ist seine Fähigkeit, Ereignisse, die sich über Jahre hinziehen, in nur wenigen Sätzen verdichtet darzustellen und dabei beim Leser dennoch den Eindruck entstehen zu lassen, dass alles Wesentliche gesagt worden ist. Ebenso beeindruckend sind die zahlreichen Nebencharaktere, Menschen, die Bowman beispielsweise auf einer Party trifft, einige wenige Sätze mit ihnen spricht, bevor diese wieder von der Bühne verschwinden, deren Leben, Wünsche, Verletzungen und Hoffnungen Salter in nur einem Nebensatz zu sezieren weiß. Sein verdichtender und präzise-ökonomischer Schreibstil kann viel und begeistert über weite Strecken des Romans und stößt doch das eine oder andere Mal an seine Grenzen. Verglichen mit anderen großen Gesellschaftsromanen wie Jonathans Franzens "Freedom" oder Jeffrey Eugenides "The Virgin Suicides" erreicht Salters Buch nicht durchgehend die Komplexität der genannten Romane.

Fazit: Toller Roman, zweifelsohne, aber die extreme Lobhudelei erscheint mir doch ein bisschen übertrieben und scheint eher das Werk der findigen Marketingabteilung zu sein. Dennoch bleibt "All that is" sehr zu empfehlen.
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Klarer gerader Roman, ohne Firlefanz erzählt. Im besten Sinne leicht zu lesen. Nach der Rückkehr aus dem Krieg im Pazifik entfalten sich die Lebensläufe der Soldaten unterschiedlich, wobei der Held Philip Bowman klar im Mittelpunkt der Erzählung steht, aber Salter gestattet immer wieder kapitelweise Einblicke in andere Lebensentwürfe. Der von Bowman ist ungewöhnlich, der Kriegsheimkehrer, ein junger, zuvor noch ungeformter Mann, gerät ins Literaturgewerbe der Verleger, Agenten und Autoren und macht dort Karriere. Das unbekannte Wesen bleibt für ihn zeitlebens: die Frau. Zwar kann er Heirat, Trennung, Affären und weiteres vorweisen, aber was die Liebe sein soll, bleibt ihm verschlossen. Wenn er glaubt sie zu haben, haut das Schicksal dazwischen, in Form von eigener Einsicht oder Enttäuschung durch die Andere(n). Eine weite und breite Erzählung, nie langweilig, psychologisch nachvollziehbar, klar erzählt.
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After a string of enthusiastic articles on this novel I though, it's time to read my first Salter. What I found was a novel written in a very precise and dense style. Salter carefully selects and places every word and expression like notes in a musical script. One is tempted at first to characterize this as a symphony of words, a beautiful symphony as that. The theme being the life and loves of Philip Bowman during the second half of the 20th century. Bowman after serving in the Pacific War Theater, enters book publishing and works as an editor, becoming a well-known figure in literary circles. While professionally successful his love and married life is less glamorous. He marries Vivian - a rich daddy's girl from Virginia - and is divorced by her after two short years. Numerous girlfriends follow and every time there is a possibility of a future life spend together but the relationships never develop that far.
Having finished reading the novel now, I found the whole construction not that grand any more: what at first seemed like a novel developed into a collection of short stories all loosely connected through the character of Philip Bowman and his friends. The story line has a romantic undertone but on the other hand there is a deep melancholy and an obvious longing for Europe and its culture (Not surprisingly Greece as the cradle of European culture makes an appearance). And sure enough, being a romantic novel the two most romantic places for lovers in general are visited by Bowman and his girlfriends, Paris and Venice. (To be fair, the trip to Venice is still ahead at the finish of the book). Well, "All that is" is a nice and major late work with a lot of detail put into the descriptions of all the figures, affairs and places that play a part in Bowman's life, but it is not as great as all the book reports want to make you believe.
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First of all I liked reading this book. As already written elsewhere it's like a string of stories covering the life of the main character and a few of his friends. The characters are well introduced & described but since the author jumps from one to another reading is less easy in the beginning.
What it lacked in my eyes was depth. The purpose in life for the persons gets not realy clear and the relations with women are a bit shallow. As a consequence the book and its characters drift along through time and let the persons appear less real. Many relationships start happily (especially the sexual part) but than develop no further and breake off (sometimes without convincing explanation, except the one below).
What puzzled me is the impression that the author treats his characters like the god of the old testament (or the greek gods that envy happy humans) in pushing them into deep sorrows and catastrophic events like Hiob was treated once they have reached a most happy state.
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