Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Last Night by James Salter

By Steve Weddle

I'm going to do you all a big favor today--I'm going to get out of the way. You're welcome.

First, though, let me point you over to the new CD from Chris LaTray. His band, American Falcon, has new tunes out, which you can snag right here. I've been listening to the songs for the past week, and I guess you could describe them as a mix between Urge Overkill and The Cult. You'll want to listen for yourself, of course.

Now, please allow me to point you to some additional awesomeness. I was reading an article in TheRumpus called "Beyond The Measure of Men," about the alleged war of women's fiction vs literary fiction I mentioned last week.

Vying with works from Bonnie Jo Campbell and Alan Heathcock and a couple others, one of my favorite collections of literary fiction this past year has been THE NEW YORKER STORIES from Ann Beattie. A remarkable collection. The story called "Coping Stones," in particular, is amazing in its ability to exist as both crime fiction and literary fiction. Well, those New Yorker kids have done it again.

The Women V. Literature article at TheRumpus mentioned a James Salter collection called LAST NIGHT. This one could be my new favorite.
In another story, a group of friends catches up on their lives and at the end, we learn that one of them is dying, doesn’t know how to share that news, and so she tells a stranger, her cab driver, who in the wake of her confession, frankly assesses her appearance.
That sounds like my kind of story--sad, awkward, with a glimpse of beauty. So I read "Last Night," as it was available at The New Yorker online. The story is soul-wrenching and can be found here.

And as if that weren't enough, Thomas McGuane picked that James Salter story to read and talk about in a New Yorker podcast here. So if you'd rather hear Mr. McGuane read it and discuss it with Deborah Treisman, there you go.

By the way, The Paris Review recently celebrated Salter's writing here, including this interview.


Nick said...

I read Volt last year. Good shit. Will look at Salis.

Anonymous said...

sounds like a fucking ad for the New Yorker

pattinase (abbott) said...

LIGHT YEARS is one my favorite Salter works. And Ann Beattie is brilliant-although some of her earlier work seems too embedded in the times--those irksome seventies. I wonder if she will survive at all.

Chris said...

Thanks for the plug, Steve!

Checking out that Salter story now. . . .

Steve Weddle said...

Nick, Yes. Loved VOLT. And Salter, not Salis. Two good Jameses, I suppose.

Anon, Um, ok.

Patti, I'll try that one. Thanks.

Chris, You bet.