Far from a “ten from Len” it’s more like a “three from me” I’m sad to report. I had great hopes and overworked anticipation when we chose this book for the January book group read at the beginning of this year – the French are quite besotted with this author, and a number of his works in translation line the best selling bookshelves at our giant Fnac shops over here. I think it has to be me who’s missing the magic, for fans of James Salter rate his work very highly (over 50% of the reviews on Amazon give this book 5 stars), and he is hailed as ‘the greatest wordsmith in America’ by some, so am saddened not to share this opinion.
I found this a difficult story to read and above all to enjoy : the writing style seemed heavily visual and pretentious, the characters’ lives seemed precious, narcissistic and unconvincing. The main couple come across as self-indulgent and I couldn’t help but feel indignant that they were somewhat abusing their lives of privilege.
I wanted to like it, and we had an extremely lengthy and fascinating debate on the issues the book raises at the book group meeting, but this one did rather pass me by, sadly. I don’t feel madly tempted to give another James Salter book a try, but maybe someone can recommend another one of his novels to enable me to join the fan group?
Read in January 2015.
Rated : 3/10