James Salter is an author with an impassioned following among contemporary readers, writers, and critics, and Dusk and Other Stories is among his signal achievements. First published nearly a quarter-century ago, and one of the very few short-story collections to win the PEN/Faulkner Award, this is American fiction at its most vital—each narrative a masterpiece of sustained power and seemingly effortless literary grace.
These stories chart the myriad moments and details that, taken together, shape a fate. Two New York attorneys newly flush with wealth embark on a dissolute tour of Italy. A divorced woman learns that she is about to lose the last thing of real value to her. An ambitious young screenwriter unexpectedly discovers the true meaning of art and glory. A rider, far off in the fields, is involved in an horrific accident—night is falling, and she must face her destiny alone.
Each of these stories is told with weighted calm, with a lingering mixture of precision and sudden revelation. They confirm James Salter as one of the finest writers of our time.
This short-story collection won the 1989 PEN/Faulkner Award for James Salter, author of Solo Faces and A Sport and A Pastime. Here, Salter's themes are memory and loss, the demands of honor and the inherent betrayals of sexual relations. Salter works like a miniaturist, evoking vast landscapes in a few lines: "Nothing is safe except for an hour," he writes in one beautiful story, opening up a whole world-view. Often, at the end of a story that runs only a few pages, the perspective suddenly broadens, the prose elevates to an abstract lyricism, and the reader is transported.