03/29/2013 08:28 am ET

James Salter And All That Is: The Brilliant New Book From One Of America’s Greatest Novelists.

It is one of the eccentricities of American publishing that James Salter has not been widely embraced as a great writer. His books are as good as those of post-war novelists like John Updike, Philip Roth, Richard Ford, and critics have often said so, and yet he is nowhere near as beloved or popularly read. He is frequently referred to as a “writer’s writer,” which sounds terrible, as if he writes effete, airless sentences, as if his novels and stories were obscure poetic exercises, but none of that is true. His writing is as muscular, as clear, as accessible, as lively as those other writers, and yet he is still somehow relegated to that dreary shelf of “writer’s writers,” but even writers have often never bothered to read him.

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