James Salter was the celebrated author of six novels (The Hunters, ; The Arm of Flesh, ; A Sport and a Pastime, ; Light Years, ; Solo Faces, . A Sport and A Pastime is a seductive classic that established James Salter’s reputation as one of the finest writers of our time. It is remarkable for its eroticism, . The astonishing novel and “tour de force” about a love affair in postwar France from the iconic author of All That Is (The New York Times Book Review).

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The characters are not memorable. Early on, this guy professes that it may not be true, or that it’s a mix of his dreaming, imaginings and, maybe, reality. That would be to believe in the myth; to believe that the world of dreams can intrude into the world of deeds, as though Salter wants to remind us that even in this sequestered universe there is no such thing as permanence, of complete faithfulness or unwavering devotion.

His evocations are both intricately faceted and vastly dimensional — jsmes France of weather and architecture, history, flavour inhabited by characters as familiar, contrary, seasoned and unknowable as any human can be. The novel is a novel of obsession, which at first seems to fixate on Dean and Anne-Marie’s sex. This is a story focused on character portrayal.

There wasn’t much dialogue, meeting of souls, flirting or playfulness. Though impotent, the narrator details everything, lays it bare. It is zalter in France during the s.

Beautiful and brutal: how James Salter set the standard for erotic writing

Even if she were dead, I would feel the same. He’s aware that he’s fixated on Dean’s penis.


A Sport and a Pastime is not without its small pleasures. Post a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. And the blurred lines of the POV are discussion-worthy, I’m sure.

Give me a minute here, people.

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He juxtaposes mild landscapes with sudden pornographic details. Thwarted in his own sexual yearning, he becomes obsessed with the relationship between his fellow guest, a nomadic American dropout, Philip Dean, and a local girl, Anne-Marie.

Then the natural question arises: At a party with friends, he meets another American, Philip Dean, also visiting France. He comes to Autun on a visit to the narrator, and here he meets a young waitress, unsophisticated, unschooled and wport a very modest family.

Provocative for the early s perhaps but quite tame by 21st century standards for sure.

What would be the point in that? Find out whose getting kissed on NYE. The sex scenes are not graphic enough to arouse any prurient interest, and they seem tame in comparison with lurid passages that can be found in any number of books penned by contemporary writers.

He not only proved me wrong about the existence of literary smut. Everything came too easy to him.

A Sport and a Pastime Summary & Study Guide

Our hero, one Phillip Dean, is gallivanting round the south of France with an eighteen year old French girl, who, as it so happens, has never had any traffic up the old chocolate highway before. Read more from the Study Guide.

And that alone is high praise. Set in France in the early s, the salher and tender story concerns spport erotic affair of American middle-class college drop-out Philip Dean and a young French girl, Anne-Marie, as witnessed by a self-consciously unreliable narrator.

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It is certainly an exemplar of writing. Dean, perpetually unemployed and always on the verge of financial ruin, lives off the generosity of his rich father who lives in Paris. Despite the novel’s shortcomings, Salter’s writing does have its share of memorable moments, as in this instance: Of course I see the pretty rich people indulging themselves, that exploitative tourism-rip-off of the American tourist-imperialist I think I’m constitutionally unable to take sex–or, sorry, Sex–as seriously as this book anv I despise myself for thinking of her.

Unlike genre romance, or the laughable, soft-core-kitsch-fetish-porn of 50 Shades of Gray, the goal of Salter is not to arouse the body but to spark the senses and ignite the soul, to mine some recess in the human psyche that longs for both physical and emotional connection. It’s about the importance of telling stories, even if they’re not your own. His novel A Sport and a Pastime James Salter – was a novelist, short story writer, and screenwriter. Our narrator’s fixation on Dean and Anne-Marie is a fixing of time, and a fixing of the timelessness of the sexual moment.

There, they spot the attractive and risk-taking Anne-Marie Costallat, who is at a table with black American soldiers. Soon after settling himself in Autun, with plans to write undisturbed, Dean shows up at the door hoping for a few nights of free lodging.