Burning the Days

Salter, James. Burning the Days: Recollection. New York: Random House, 1997.

I think I would only have enjoyed this more if James Salter had read it to me. His writing; his way with words is intoxicating! In reality, Salter could have written separate two books about his life. The first being about his time serving in the Air Force as a pilot. His descriptions of war are frightening and exhilarating all at once. The second book could have covered the time in his life as a New York writer.  As an accomplished writer his world was opened up to film deals and movie stars. Again, terrifying and exciting all at once. Both are fast paced lives but so very different! The second section seems to be a who’s who in the entertainment industry.  Salter makes coy references to the passions he shared with lots of women, “We sat on the couch and studied. The vocabulary was not that of school” (p 245). Salter could have written a third about his friendship with Irwin Shaw. You could tell from the tenderness in Salter’s words that he truly enjoyed Shaw’s company.

Lines worth mentioning: “There is your life as you know it and also as others know it, perhaps incorrectly, but to which some importance must be attached” (p 3), “Nothing is as intense as unconsummated love” (p 121), and “There is a feeling Faulkner probably had – I have had it myself – that somewhere the true life is being lived, though not where you are” (p 182).

Reason read: August is aviation month.

Author fact: Salter also wrote A Sport and a Pastime which is also on my list. I’m looking forward to it.

Book trivia:  Despite this being a memoir it does not contain photographs. Bummer.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Above Clouds” (p 90).



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