Don’t Save Anything: Uncollected Essays, Articles, and Profiles

James Salter. Counterpoint, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-1-61902-936-1
The late Salter was commonly regarded as a writer’s writer, and this superb collection shows why. In the preface, his widow, Kay Eldredge Salter, describes finding these previously published but uncollected writings among his papers following his death. They include a profile of Ben Sonnenberg Jr., founder of the literary magazine Grand Street. In this piece, Salter praises his friend’s “bravery and spirit” and admits being jealous of him, even during his decline from MS. Other profile subjects include Robert Jarvik, the designer of the first artificial heart, and William DeVries, the surgeon who implanted it. Elsewhere, Salter entertains with stories of working on Downhill Racer with Robert Redford and arguing about which skier they should model the movie’s protagonist on, and reflects on Dwight Eisenhower, whom he calls not a conventionally heroic general but a “tough, resilient, wise” leader. In an essay from 2002 on the future of writing, Salter declares that the “life-giving novel, like the theater, despite occasional flare-ups, belongs to the past,” adding that “literature is not dead... but it has lost its eminence. The tide is turning against it.” Crisp and razor sharp, Salter’s work peels away illusions to reveal the matter-of-fact nuances of his and our lives. Agent: Amanda Urban, ICM. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/11/2017
Release date: 11/01/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
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