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BookBrowse Reviews All That Is by James Salter

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All That Is

by James Salter

All That Is
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Apr 2013, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2014, 304 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Poornima Apte

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All That Is explores a life unfolding in a world on the brink of change. It is a dazzling, sometimes devastating labyrinth of love and ambition, a fiercely intimate account of the great shocks and grand pleasures of being alive.

The cinematic first chapter of James Salter's new book All That Is is set during World War II, during the Battle of Okinawa, when American forces were slowly "prying" many an island from the Japanese. The chapter serves as a perfect frame of reference for the three men who make up most of its narrative: there's dashing Kimmel who always boasts about his sexual exploits; pious Brownell, who's constantly embarrassed by details about Kimmel's escapades; and finally, Philip Bowman, a run-of-the-mill obedient deckhand who is diligent and does as he's told. While this first chapter is very unlike the rest of the novel, it serves to give us a sneak peek at the characters' personalities and discover how they change (or not) during the course of their lives. Soon the war ends, the camera zooms in and the rest of the book focuses mostly on Bowman as he returns home to the rest of his life.

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