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Burning the Days


This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


In this brilliant book of recollection, one of America's finest writers re-creates people, places, and events spanning some fifty years, bringing to life an entire era through one man's sensibility. Scenes of love and desire, friendship, ambition, life in foreign cities and New York, are unforgettably rendered here in the unique style for which James Salter is widely admired.

Burning the Days captures a singular life, beginning with a Manhattan boyhood and then, satisfying his father's wishes, graduation from West Point, followed by service in the Air Force as a pilot. In some of the most evocative pages ever written about flying, Salter describes the exhilaration and terror of combat as a fighter pilot in the Korean War, scenes that are balanced by haunting pages of love and a young man's passion for women.

After resigning from the Air Force, Salter begins a second life, becoming a writer in the New York of the 1960s. Soon films beckon. There are vivid portraits of actors, directors, and producers--Polanski, Robert Redford, and others. Here also, more important, are writers who were influential, some by their character, like Irwin Shaw, others because of their taste and knowledge.

Ultimately Burning the Days is an illumination of what it is to be a man, and what it means to become a writer.

Only once in a long while--Vladimir Nabokov's Speak, Memory or Isak Dinesen's Out of Africa--does a memoir of such extraordinary clarity and power appear. Unconventional in form, Burning the Days is a stunning achievement by the writer The Washington Post Book World said "inhabits the same rarefied heights as Flannery O'Connor, Paul Bowles, Tennessee Williams and John Cheever" --a rare and unforgettable book.

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from James Salter's All That Is.

From Publishers Weekly

Jul 31, 1997 – Members of a generation nearing its end are passing along memoirs that remind Americans how innocent life was before 1945, how grand immediately after. And Salter commands a position near the head of this class for his unfaltering skill as a writer and intuitive sensitivity as a chronicler of human relationships. Though he fought in Korea, not WWII, he describes the same postwar euphoria that existed when Americans felt beloved by the world. The bulk of this brilliant memoir recounts the 1940s, '50s and '60s, when Salter was a fighter pilot, then a novelist (Light Years) and writer of screenplays. Combat missions and military culture (Salter graduated from West Point) are described in detail, along with the exotic locales of his Air Force career: the American Midwest, Asia, North Africa. But it is Europe that still enthralls him, and the pages recounting his friendships there with "performers whom the years had yet to deplume" (Irwin Shaw, Roman Polanski) are the most heartrending. Salter fans will recognize the theme of once mighty worlds decaying to insignificance. Everything in this book is colored with the sweet sadness of loss--loss of friends, lovers and dreams. Salter writes about tragedy and regret with irresistible eloquence.

Customer Reviews

Brilliant memoir

This extraordinary memoir was my introduction to Salter
10 or 12 years ago. It is a great read. Written in Salter's economical but somehow rich style, he tells great stories that stick with you. I come back to this book again and again to find passages that pop to mind even 10 years on.

Life As A Creative Process

Here Salter gives the reader a kaleidoscopic glimpse of the days and ways of one of the more interesting writers of the last half century. What emerges is a sketch of a talented, intellectually adventurous person generous enough to appreciate other creative people, whatever the form of their creativity.

We come to see Salter most clearly through his reactions to a sequence of individuals, some famous, some obscure, some sought out, some simply encountered (Salter seems rarely to have refused any invitation). Nonjudgmental always, he values the life interestingly lived at least as much as the well-written book.

A cleverly constructed memoir, this is an entertaining read, a guilty pleasure. Highly recommended.

Burning the Days
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  • $13.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Sep 29, 1998
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 400 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings