by James Salter
Paperback, 320 pages
If you want to read some good writing, try James Salter who passed away last year at 90 years of age. Richard Ford says, “It is an article of faith among readers of fiction that James Salter writes American sentences better than anybody writing today.” Light Years, published in 1975, is the story of Viri and Nedra Berland and their life as a couple from the early 60’s to late 70’s. He is an architect who commutes daily to Manhattan from the suburbs. She is a housewife and mother who shops and entertains. The novel serves as something of an anatomy of the American family of the time – the marriage, the children, the friends, the adulteries, and the unfulfilled longings. Salter conveys the sense of depth and peril that lies even in shallow waters. An earlier novel A Sport and a Pastime, set in Paris and a small town in southern France, is also brilliant if a bit sexually explicit for some.