A major new novel, his first work of fiction in seven years, from the universally acclaimed master and PEN/Faulkner winner: a sweeping, seductive love story set in the years after World War II. From his experiences as a young naval officer in battles off Okinawa, Philip Bowman returns to America and finds a position as a book editor. In a world of dinners, deals, and literary careers, Bowman finds that he fits in perfectly. But despite his success, what eludes him is love. His first marriage goes bad, another fails to happen, and finally he meets a woman who enthrals him before setting him on a course he could never imagine for himself. Romantic and haunting, All That Is explores a life unfolding in an unforgettable world on the brink of change -- a dazzling, sometimes devastating labyrinth of love and ambition, a fiercely intimate account of the great shocks and grand pleasures of being alive.
An Amazon Best Book of the Month, April 2013: By starting the life story of Phillip Bowman in the last days of World War II, Salter sets the tone for the rest of this remarkable book. “The outcome of great battles could hinge on resolve,” he writes, and Bowman is all about resolve. But beneath the deceptively straightforward coming-of-age and growing-old narrative--boy meets girl, loses girl; meets, loses; meets, loses--lurks the deeply personal story of what it meant to be a 20th century man. Bowman is the archetype of the flawed, ambitious, lust-filled American male. He’s Don Draper. He’s Rabbit Angstrom. He’s your dad. He’s my dad. (Also named Phil; also from New Jersey.) What’s truly astounding here is the writing, from a master who happens to be an octogenarian. Salter crafts beautiful sentences. He creates characters, lives, entire worlds in just a page or two. He’s also capable of some blushingly evocative sex scenes--again, impressive for a man approaching 90. Profound and lush, this is a book to savor. It’s the sweeping story of a complicated, error-filled, fully wrung-out life. A guy’s life. A good life. --Neal Thompson