All That Is

All That Is

Audiobook CD - 2013
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"...Salter measures his words carefully, occasionally punctuating his elegant prose with sharp, erotic punches."--Publishers Weekly.
After his experiences as a young naval officer in battles off Okinawa, Philip Bowman returns to America and finds a position as a book editor. Bowman finds he fits in perfectly. But despite his success, love eludes him. His first marriage goes bad, another fails to happen, and finally he meets a woman who enthralls him and sets him on a course he could never have imagined for himself.
Publisher: [United States] : Blackstone Audio, Inc., 2013.
Edition: Unabridged.
ISBN: 9781482926231
Characteristics: 8 sound discs (600 min.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
Additional Contributors: Barrett, Joe

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AL_JANE Oct 31, 2016

Great character development, I thought. An interesting --- and, perhaps, depressing --- view of relationships.

p
phoresite
Mar 24, 2015

This book is masterfully written and beautifully read. It reminded me of what excellent American literature is all about.

m
maipenrai
Mar 17, 2014

1/2* "All That Is" is written in the episodic style of a memoir. It recounts in a meandering fashion the story of Philip Bowman, who grows up in a modest fatherless household in New Jersey and goes into the Navy in World War II, where he sees action in the Pacific. He comes home and goes to Harvard, where he feels like an outsider. He finds a job in publishing, which becomes his career. He gets married, then divorced. He has affairs. In the end he meets another woman.
Bowman, like most young men, thinks constantly about sex, and sees women almost solely in physical terms. The jokes and comments made by him and his friends are coarsely sexist. Perhaps we?re expected to forgive this, because sexism was then common. But this isn?t Faulkner, using the N-word while it was still current. This is Salter, in 2013, writing racist and sexist fantasies. About halfway through, Bowman (Beau-Man is prodigiously handsome, and good in bed) falls in love with Catherine and they have great sex. She finds him a beautiful house in the Hamptons. He won?t marry her, but he buys the house in both their names. She lives there with her teenage daughter, Anet, while Bowman comes out on weekends. Catherine betrays him, sues for sole possession of the house, and wins. Enraged, Bowman leaves the Hamptons. Several years later, when he?s around 50, he runs into Anet, who is around 20. I will not spoil the story by telling what happens with the young woman, but you can probably guess. ***** My suggested title for this book is " All That Shouldn't Have Been Written". William Faulkner, in his acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize, declared that great writing demands the universal truths of ?love and honor and pity and pride and compassion,? any writing without pity or compassion is ?ephemeral and doomed.? All too often we no longer require compassion from the literature we admire. We praise as great books like this one that celebrates cruelty, disdain, and contempt. They establish emotional distance rather than intimacy. Compassion is not mere sentimentality; it may be the best of human emotions because it requires empathy not sympathy. Philip Bowman is a narcissistic, vindictive, cruel, misogynistic SOB. ( I know, why don't I say what I really think about him. ) There is nothing admirable in his life. I don't understand why Mr. Salter chose to devote so many pages to this despicable man. Eternal optimist that I still seem to be, I kept hoping there would be some redeeming event or self-realization for the character. Wrong again!! If the reader is meant to understand the narrative as irony, the author does not achieve this purpose. Run, do not walk away from this book!!

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