Discovering James Salter and the Beauty of “A Sport and a Pastime”

ASportandAPastime2-CindyFazziPhotoI discovered James Salter’s “A Sport and a Pastime” last year, thanks to my writing critique partner’s recommendation. I don’t know how I missed such a beautiful novel all these years, but better late than never.

The small book (200 pages) about an American expatriate and his French lover is as intimate as a whisper in my ear. It’s erotic but unromantic, with a simple story told in rich prose. It’s a testament to Salter’s enormous gift as a writer.

The author died on June 19, 2015, at the age of 90. The New York Times described him as a “writer’s writer.” I couldn’t agree more. If you write fiction, you have to read Salter. It’s one of the best descriptive writing you’ll ever find.

Here’s my review of Salter’s 1967 novel:

James Salter’s “A Sport and a Pastime”: Languid, Rich, and Memorable

Read a related story about the use of the present tense in Salter’s book and other works:

In Praise of the Here and Now: Top 10 Present-Tense Novels

To read the New York Times article about Salter’s death and career, click here.

Leave a comment


  1. I hadn’t heard he’d died. That’s sad news. I hope that with time he becomes the household name he deserves to be. In addition to being a fantastic author of books, he also wrote screenplays. He was a wonderfully talented man.

  2. Sounds like I needs to find some time to check out Salter. Thanks, Cindy!

    • Hi Stanalei. Salter’s book is almost the opposite of a romance novel; it’s quite refreshing after reading so many romance books(:


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