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Monday, May 21, 2007

Mastery and devilment

Last Night by James Salter

I heard him interviewed and he claimed not to try for this silky smooth effect. It bothered him to be constantly referred to as a masterful prose stylist, a writer's writer, because it was in danger of making him too self-conscious. However there is no doubt that, as Richard Ford said in his introductory notes to this story, that there is no "grit" in James Salter's style. Yet I found that this story was as horrifying as just about any I've ever read. It trickles into the mind like a snake under a door before striking with deadly effect.


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