All That Is

  • by James Salter
  • Narrated by Joe Barrett
  • 10 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

An extraordinary literary event, a major new novel by the PEN/Faulkner winner and acclaimed master, here is a sweeping, seductive, deeply moving story set in the years after World War II.
After his experiences as a young naval officer in battles off Okinawa, Philip Bowman returns to America and finds a position as a book editor. It is a time when publishing is still largely a private affair - a scattered family of small houses here and in Europe - a time of gatherings in fabled apartments and conversations that continue long into the night. In this world of dinners, deals, and literary careers, Bowman finds he fits in perfectly. But despite his success, love eludes him. His first marriage goes bad, another fails to happen, and finally he meets a woman who enthralls him and sets him on a course he could never have imagined for himself.
Romantic and haunting, 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.


What the Critics Say

"The best novel I’ve read in years. All That Is will be treasured by its readers. Salter’s vivid, lucid prose does exquisite justice to his subject - the relentless struggle to make good on our own humanity. Once again he has delivered to us a novel of the highest artistry." (Tim O’Brien, National Book Award-winning author of The Things They Carried)
"A beautiful novel, with sufficient love, heartbreak, vengeance, identity confusion, longing, and euphoria of language to have satisfied Shakespeare." (John Irving, New York Times best-selling author)
"Enthralling.... A vividly imagined and beautifully written evocation of a postwar world." (John Banville, Man Booker Prize-winning author)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

All That Isn't

Oh dear. Why did I ever accept a recommendation from Richard Ford? I've found his last three novels increasingly banal, so why would I think the novel he loved most in the past year to be anything than a reflection of the way he writes himself? Everybody talks about what fine sentences James Salter writes. That should have been the tip off. When all they can say anything good about is the sentences, don't expect a story. This is a book about two guys, very boring middleclass guys, who live humdrum lives but go through an astonishing number of women. It is quite old fashionedly heterosexual and male-oriented. The women parade through so quickly you don't get to know much more than their hair colour and their degree of sex appeal (high in every case.) There is no end of tedious sex. It ends in the middle of nowhere. Get me out of here.
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- Mary

The kudos are totally appropriate

Would you consider the audio edition of All That Is to be better than the print version?

Unfortunately, I cannot answer that question adequately, as my vision prevents me from reading a print version. The audio edition is my only choice. So having said that, I'd say yes, the audio edition definitely was better.

Yeah, I'm smirking.

What other book might you compare All That Is to and why?

The primary setting--the Big Apple just after WWII--reminded me of Mark Helprin's IN SUNLIGHT AND IN SHADOW. But the writing itself reminded me of the greats, such as John Irving, Richard Ford, Richard Russo, and Phillip Roth.

What does Joe Barrett bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Joe Barrett does author James Salter the ultimate good turn by allowing the thoughtful prose to do its job without force or artifice. He voices both men and women without getting in the way of what needs to be said. He is a most considerate narrator, and yet the characters come brilliantly to life.

If you could take any character from All That Is out to dinner, who would it be and why?

I can't really discuss this without ruining a major event in the book. So without disclosing anything, I have to admit I'd love to take protagonist Phillip Bowman to dinner (I'll make him put it on his fancy publishing house expense report). I'd say to him, "Whoa! I totally didn't see that coming." And then I'd have to ask, "Did you have that planned all along? Do you ever feel bad about it? Or did it make you chuckle inside, this terrible thing that you did. And by the way, you don't mention it at all in the book, but did you ever lose any sleep about it?"

You see? I can't really answer that question without leaving review readers going, "Huh?"

So I'll just say this: If you like Roth, Irving, Updike...this book is a very good use of your Audible credit.

Any additional comments?

I have to admit that I initially had a difficult time getting into this book. I thought it was okay. But I wasn't just bowled over. Still, I kept going and, all of a sudden, discovered that I had to know what happens next.

Salter's prose is worthy of all the praise from notable reviewers. Listening to this book is time well spent.

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- Annie M. "Say something about yourself!"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-14-2013
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.