Last Night by James Salter
Ten years ago, I found myself in a long conversation with Tim about the writers we most admired. If I could invite just one writer to come read at his store, he asked, who would it be? A few months later, I stood at a podium in the back room of Newtonville Books, awkwardly introducing James Salter. I hoped to articulate all that his work had meant to me as a writer, without lapsing into the sort of flabby effusiveness that would certainly make him cringe. Salter’s style was exactitude, subtlety, exquisite discernment. If I had time for only three or four sentences, I wanted them to be as good as his. They weren’t, but I will always remember his graciousness afterward. I’d gone to the reading with a friend who read Salter as fervently as I did, and Salter’s kindness to us both is as vivid in my memory as his best sentences. He is already missed.
Submitted by: Jennifer Haigh