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. Two New York attorneys newly flush with wealth embark on a dissolute tour of Italy; 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. These stories 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.