A Sport and a Pastime (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

For luminous, masterful, unabashedly beautiful writing, behold James Salter. I read this book, and then I read it again. And again. And again. Each time it yielded something new—to quote the novel, “like memorizing the reflections of a diamond. The slightest movement and an entirely new brilliance appears.” The premise is simple: a handsome young American and his girlfriend drive around provincial France and make love. But no one writes sex like Salter—it’s primordial and transcendent and awkward and gorgeous and scary and sad. Think Hemingway with a heart.

— Maddie


A Sport and a Pastime is an astonishing performance, the classic novel from a remarkable writer whose sentences bristle with a singular passion. Salter chronicles a love affair between a young shopgirl and an American college dropout against the backdrop of provincial France. The narrator's cool distillation of events-real or imagined-makes the book both lyrical and tightly, dangerously pitched.

Praise For…

"Salter inhabits the same rarefied heights as Flannery O'Connor, Paul Bowles, Tennessee Williams, and John Cheever."--Ned Rorem, The Washington Post Book World

"A feverishly compressed, exquisitely controlled story."--Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times

"A tour de force of erotic realism, a romantic cliff-hanger; an opaline vision of Americans in France . . . A Sport and a Pastime succeeds as art must. It tells us about ourselves."--The New York Times Book Review

"Salter particularly rewards those for whom reading is an intense pleasure."--Susan Sontag

Product Details
ISBN: 9780865472105
Publisher: North Point Press
Publication Date: October 1st, 1985
Pages: 192