Teaser Tuesday (1/18/2015)

Teaser Tuesday is a book meme created by A Daily Rhythm. Per instructions:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

51y3zZubYaLCurrently, I’m about halfway through James Salter’s short story collection Dusk and Other Stories. Many of the stories seem to focus on expatriates living in Europe, many of whom are currently in the midst of melancholy-inducing situations. I really wanted to like it, but I haven’t been as into it as I thought I would be. The first thing I’ll say is that Salter’s prose is pretty fluid. He’s able to really put you in the moment at times despite the sparse nature of his prose. I can definitely see the “literary grace,” that the back of the book promises, but I have a bit more difficulty seeing the “sustained power.” I like Salter’s terse prose, but some of the stories just seem to be lacking something either in the plot or in the characters themselves. Je ne sais quoi.

Short story collections always seem to be a mixed bag. I haven’t read many that I would cite as one of my favorite books of all time just because they can be so hit and miss throughout. Even with that, though, the skill of the author can still be obvious. I’ll give one of Salter’s novels a shot.

Anyway, here’s the teaser from the story “Via Negativa:

“Money doesn’t mean anything,” he says. “Look at me. I can’t even get a decent haircut.”

Salter’s sentences are rarely long, so it’s tough to select just two sentences, and, in my opinion, “Via Negativa” isn’t the best story in the collection. Not only because it is a recipient of the PEN/Faulkner award, but also due to the moments where Salter’s prose really shines, I think Dusk and Other Stories is worth reading, or at least a few stories from it. Maybe it’ll mean more to you than it did to me. Maybe I need to revisit it later.

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