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IMAGE Middletown Police Report - July 24, 2014
Thursday, 24 July 2014
Middletown, NJ - The following police report is provided by the Middletown Police Department.  All subjects are presumed innocent until proven... Read More...
Complaint Filed Against Moving Company That Allegedly Low-Balled Consumers and Threatened to Withhold Possessions
Thursday, 24 July 2014
NEWARK, NJ – Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman and the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs today announced the filing of a complaint... Read More...
Keeping Kids Healthy this Summer
Thursday, 24 July 2014
The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association want kids to stay heart-healthy this summer. Robbinsville, NJ, July 24, 2014—School... Read More...
IMAGE Long Branch Native a ‘Rising Star’ on ABC Singing Competition Show
Thursday, 24 July 2014
Long Branch, N.J.  –  24-year-old Audrey Kate Geiger is preparing for her second performance on “Rising Star,” ABC’s newest hit... Read More...
Globe Awards New Turnout Gear to Highlands Fire Department as Part of 2014 Giveaway Program
Wednesday, 23 July 2014
HIGHLANDS, NJ - Globe, in partnership with DuPont Protection Technologies (DuPont) and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) has made the... Read More...

Columns

IMAGE Spectator’s Observations
by George Hancock-Stefan
Thursday, 24 July 2014
During the World Cup, I watched as many games as possible. I watched them here at home, I watched a couple of games in Turkey where they were... Read More...
IMAGE What Does the Fox Say?
by Anne Mikolay
Thursday, 24 July 2014
As a long-time Middletown resident and a nature lover, I have seen my share of backyard critters. We have mice, voles, squirrels, raccoons, skunks,... Read More...
IMAGE Skewed View - July 24, 2014
by Tom Brennan
Thursday, 24 July 2014
I created a page called "Fact Jack".  If you want, like it on Facebook http://bit.ly/FactJackFb or follow on... Read More...
IMAGE Christie Should Help Fellow Republicans
by Jack Archibald
Thursday, 24 July 2014
Governor Chris Christie  revealed quite a bit about his political ambition and philosophy this past week.  In case you haven’t been... Read More...
IMAGE Review - Tammy
by David Prown
Sunday, 20 July 2014
It's amazing to me how lame the movie selection was this week. I'm not even sure if there was anything new out...amazing. Have you noticed how I'm... Read More...

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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