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AHH 24-Hr. News

IMAGE 90.5 The Night Celebrates 40 Years
Wednesday, 01 October 2014
LINCROFT, NJ - On the 1st of October, 90.5 The Night Brookdale Public Radio marks its 40th Anniversary of radio broadcasting by kicking off a... Read More...
16th Annual Interdisciplinary Forum on the Vietnam Era
Wednesday, 01 October 2014
Holmdel, N.J. – On Friday, October 17, 2014 from  8:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m., the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation will hold its... Read More...
New Jersey Fisherman Encouraged to Access Federal Fishery Disaster Relief Funds
Wednesday, 01 October 2014
WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) encouraged New Jersey fishermen affected by Superstorm Sandy to apply for... Read More...
Monmouth University Polling Institute Ranked in Top 7% by Polling Analyst Nate Silver
Wednesday, 01 October 2014
West Long Branch, N.J. - The Monmouth University Polling Institute (MUPI) is ranked among the top 7% of all pollsters in the nation after... Read More...
Man Who Fled Newark Bank Robbery in a Taxi Pleads Guilty
Wednesday, 01 October 2014
NEWARK, NJ—An Essex County man who left the scene of the crime by hailing a cab admitted today to robbing the New York Community Bank in Newark,... Read More...

Columns

IMAGE The Hangover
by Anne Mikolay
Wednesday, 01 October 2014
Let's talk about my hangover. Shall we? Let me begin by saying this: my hangover has absolutely nothing to do with liquor or Bradley Cooper's 2009... Read More...
IMAGE The Fast Changing World
by George Hancock-Stefan
Wednesday, 01 October 2014
Sometime last year, I shopped at one of the large stores in the Monmouth Mall.  I bought a suit and the gentleman selling me the suit was so... Read More...
IMAGE What’s Living in Raritan-Sandy Hook Bays?
by Joe Reynolds
Sunday, 28 September 2014
On Sunday, September 28, volunteers with the Bayshore Regional Watershed Council, an all-volunteer environmental group dedicated to restoring Raritan... Read More...
IMAGE Wakefield Gets SA Chapters Running
by Daniel J. Vance
Saturday, 27 September 2014
My featured person this week, Margery Wakefield, of Lansing, Michigan, has had lifelong struggles with schizophrenia, a mental health disability. For... Read More...
IMAGE Life in the Tidelines near NY Harbor
by Joe Reynolds
Thursday, 25 September 2014
There’s a nor’easter heading our way, but the other day it was sunny, calm, and lovely out. Trying to take advantage of the pleasant weather... Read More...

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What’s On Your Plate? Family Nutrition

James Salter's first novel in almost 40 years has been praised widely by critics and readers. His protagonist, Phillip Bowman, is a young man who serves as a navigation officer in the Pacific during World War II. When the war ends, he returns home searching for a career and a wife. He finds the first as a a book editor for a publishing house. The happy marriage proves more difficult.. He meets and marries Vivian Amussen, a wealthy and privileged girl from Virginia. But there are strains in their marriage from the start, the least of which is the vast difference in their families and upbringings. As Phillip navigates the years after the war, he struggles to find a relationship that will last and a place for himself in a rapidly changing world.

While this is advertised as Bowman's story, it is not quite that simple. It is more an exploration of a whole world of characters. Bowman will disappear for pages at a time, only to be picked up again as if  there was no break. Characters are introduced and followed for a page or two, never to be seen again. This is both fascinating and frustrating. Salter creates a world of really interesting characters and I often found myself so intrigued by an auxiliary character that I was disappointed when they did not appear again. But this creates a disconnect for the reader with Bowman himself. It's hard to connect with a protagonist who is frequently absent and often the least interesting of the bunch. 

 

Salter is often noted as writing beautifully simple prose. He excels at writing sentences that manage to be bare and simple while holding great depth and grace."Day was rising, a pale Pacific dawn that had no real horizon with the tops of the early clouds gathering light. The sea was empty. Slowly the sun appeared, flooding across the water and turning it white."

 

But the lovely writing doesn't cover some of the book's flaws. Throughout the novel, Bowman acts with no consideration for other people. This doesn't change as time goes on, despite the many failed relationships that litter the story. This gives a stagnant feeling to All That Is. This seems to be an intentional decision on Salter's part, but it gives a weight to the story that makes it difficult to keep reading with enthusiasm. This novel is also decidedly male in that the women in it are more plot points than characters. They are not developed in any meaningful way because Bowman (and Salter) will use them for a few pages and then dispose of them. 

All That Is was lauded as a return of a very talented author. Unfortunately, this collection of one man's conquests and failures without much introspection or change doesn't match the excitement this book generated. 

 

All That Is

By James Salter

Alfred A Knopf April 2013

ISBN 1400043131