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Dusk and Other Stories

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  1,069 Ratings  ·  112 Reviews
Virtuosic and exquisitely compressed, these stories show Salter at his best.

The collection received the 1989 PEN/Faulkner Award.
Paperback, 157 pages
Published April 1st 1989 by North Point Press (first published 1988)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,358)
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Sep 21, 2011 Eric rated it really liked it
Shelves: ficciones
Ah, Salterland! Where it’s always 196—. Where Town is a gleaming oak bar, Country a superb yet forsaken woman who drinks a little too much (and has a good chance of dying in a riding accident), and Europa a precocious gamine who is really down for anything, you just have to ask. I wouldn’t want a woman who hadn’t already lived a few lives, and so the title story “Dusk,” and “Foreign Shores,” stories of durable divorcees, autumn roses, seemed to me the most effective (affective is what I mean). “ ...more
Jun 14, 2015 Matthew rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
DUSK AND OTHER STORIES includes eleven stories: "Am Strande von Tanger", "Twenty Minutes", "American Express", "Foreign Shores", "The Cinema", "Lost Sons", "Akhnilo", "Dusk", "Via Negativa", "The Destruction of the Goetheanum", and "Dirt".

My overall impression of the stories... The author frequently relates the stories of American expatriates living in Europe. Although he wasn't exactly an expatriate, Salter spent his many years of military service (in the 1940s and 50s) in Europe, where he und
May 21, 2011 Bennet rated it liked it
Shelves: novels-stories
Maybe it's because I think in novel terms, but I never cease to be amazed by a short story that makes a character, a place, a whatever viable and memorable despite the limitations of the form. And I'm in awe of how many different but comparably compelling ways there are to do that; all have in common a knack for instantly insinuating and evoking. It's an art and craft of language that seems more difficult to me than novel writing.

Reading this (my first Salter) prompted me to start a shelf of fa
Jan 14, 2016 Keith rated it really liked it
Revised Review

From the introduction by Philip Gourevitch:

"The pilot was called, as he had been from birth, James Horowitz. The writer called himself James Salter. He was handsome, and he had style. He lived in Europe. His prose announced itself with a high modernist elegance. He made language spare and lush all at once—strong feelings made stronger by abbreviation, intense physicality haunted by a whiff of metaphysics: for everything that is described, even more is evoked.

These books all have th
Nov 10, 2009 Ken rated it really liked it
It is a sad commentary on the state of the short story when a collection such as this is allowed to go out of print. After all, Dusk and Other Stories did win the PEN/Faulkner award when it was first released in 1989. And this collection did become a textbook for dedicated short story writers -- maybe not as popular with the general reading public as Carver’s What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, but more of an insider's pick, like the films of Sam Fuller. The sad fact is that I had to rea ...more
Slater is known as a writer's writer. His prose is understated, but he paints exquisite portraits of people, places, and lives. I took my time reading this collection of short stores in order to savor them. The stories do more than describe people and places. Each one conveyed a mood, and the feeling of a time and place. Salter rarely gives the reader extraneous details. Sometimes I wasn't sure where the story was taking place or even the decade. Endings were sometimes so subtle I had to reread ...more
Adrian Astur Alvarez
Aug 21, 2015 Adrian Astur Alvarez rated it really liked it
Sadly, I only discovered James Salter recently, after reading his obituary. His popularity among other writers doesn't surprise me. The prose in this collection of short stories dazzles. Salter has a way of juxtaposing a flurry of images within the space of a paragraph while only supplying just enough information to allow the reader's progress through the narrative. A lot of the characters in this particular collection seem to be women resolved to their bitterness - failed lives or living failur ...more
Dec 28, 2013 Cateline rated it it was amazing
James Salter's Dusk and Other Stories is a little difficult for me to rate as a whole. It wanders from three star to five plus stars. A collection of short stories by the master of spare, beautiful prose. Several stand out, such as Akhnilo, a powerful story of a man possibly slipping back into schizophrenia. In a few lines Salter shows the reader the effects of mental illness on the sufferers family. Then there is the screamingly effective Twenty Minutes featuring a woman that is the suffering a ...more
Nov 01, 2015 Tim rated it it was amazing
This was a fine little collection of short stories formerly released by the (sadly) defunct North Point Press, who published reasonably priced trade paper editions (with sewn bindings and acid-free paper) of good literary fiction. These stories were originally published in Paris Review and Esquire. The work tends toward a concise moodiness, expressing feelings of loss and the passage of time, looking at loneliness in the midst of material comfort. It is a book that stayed with me, and that I hav ...more
Sharon Bakar
An excellent collection of short stories several of which I read more than once. They need time and attention and more than repay it. I know I will come back to the book. Some notes on individual short stories I particularly liked:

Am Strande von Tanger - set in Barcelona - a couple sharing an apartment. Beautiful serene beginning. A friend (hers) a German woman comes over and the three of them go to the beach for the day - so little happens on the surface - yet beneath it everything shifts i
John Pappas
Jan 03, 2013 John Pappas rated it really liked it
Salter's stories are like strange rough-hewn gems, irregularly shaped, refracting light oddly. At moments, they seem almost commonplace, but when you lean in closer to inspect one of the story's many facets, you are suddenly and disproportionately dazzled. Salter's stretching of the form and structure of the short story and his amplification of various aspects in novel ways make the stories in this collection shine. His methods of characterization and ear for figurative language creates sentence ...more
Oct 03, 2012 Jennifer rated it it was ok
Well, I must be missing something since everyone who rated this book of short stories raved about it. I found the language way too spare. Rather than terse, it seemed stilted and artificial. I read 4 stories before giving up. Every story either struck me as completely opaque, contrived, pointless, or poorly resolved ... I just didn't get it.
Nov 26, 2013 Caroline rated it liked it
"Akhnilo" is incredible, like Cheever's The Swimmer. The rest is good too, I know, but it isn't for me. We don't find the same details heartbreaking....and I don't know how to fall in love with "complaisance," a girl characteristic that repeats twice, or girl neurotica, which repeats endlessly and uselessly to me.
May 27, 2007 Richie rated it liked it
The story American Express affected me like no other--two middle-aged businessmen with nothing left of their souls driving around Europe with a teenage schoolgirl. I was in ruins after reading it. The rest of the stories were sadly forgettable.
May 07, 2015 Alan rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Rich, beautiful stories, reminiscent of Cheever and the Updike of the 60s. I like the shorter ones best, they shine and strike deep. He achieves effects with simple, short sentences, building up, digging down, until you're taken. 'Akhnilo' perhaps my favourite: the man getting out on his roof, gone mad in the quiet suburbs. Sometimes about the rich and languid, dealing with ennui, two men drifting round Europe pick up a schoolgirl in Italy and tour the Veneto with her; a divorcee spies on her au ...more
This is not prose, this is some kind of transcendence. James Salter takes the baton from Hemingway in the long relay that is the American short story, and turns in a dazzling performance.
Sep 06, 2014 Laysee rated it liked it
“Dusk and Other Stories” received the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. After “Light Years” I had looked forward to reading more of James Salter’s writing. What I have consistently loved about Salter is the beauty of his prose. If I could rate this set of 11 stories on his prose alone, it would be solidly 5 stars.

Salter’s writing is mostly atmospheric and words have a power that transcends description. They bring to sharp relief his keen perception of his characters’ thoughts and feelings. For exa
Charles Gates
Nov 01, 2015 Charles Gates rated it liked it
Like some other reviewers, I had never heard of Salter until I read his obituary. "A writer's writer", "under appreciated," etc. -- how had I missed him? I have now read this story collection. Indeed, he writes carefully, giving a sharp physical sense of place and persons. But others write well, too. What did Salter do with his talent? The dominant theme is melancholy -- flat or failed relationships between men and women. I didn't find the characters appealing. In addition, Salter will often str ...more
May 08, 2015 Martin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015books
Look I'm a negative nancy when it comes to short story collections; I don't really get how to read them. I've started reading one short story in between each book I read, as a palate cleanser. It works ok, but I don't really feel like I get a good sustained sense of the author. Maybe I do. Or maybe I get exactly the kind of sense that I SHOULD get of a short story author.

But any alternative system I've tried -- like reading the stories straight through like chapters in a book -- never works for
Armin Hennig
Großartige Höhepunkte, schnell vergessener Durchschnitt

Eine Warnung an potenzielle Leser vorweg: lasst Euch nicht von meinen drei Sternen abschrecken, sie geben meinen gefühlten Durchschnitt über alle 11 Stories wieder. Und den Storyband, in denen alle für fünf Sterne gut sind, gibt es meines Erachtens nicht, nicht einmal bei Maupassant oder Somerset Maugham oder dem jungen Irwin Shaw, auch wenn die Altmeister vielleicht einen höheren Gesamtdurchschnitt erreicht hätten als Salter, der ihre hist
Dan Cavallari
Apr 24, 2014 Dan Cavallari rated it really liked it
I'd really give this 3.5 stars. In full disclosure, this book was given to me by one of Salter's nephews who is a friend of mine. The prose is beautiful: very taut, sometimes ethereal, sparse. But his stories are not always compelling, and I sometimes had difficulty following the through-line.

The characters? Often insufferable. Always navigating through some terrible ennui. I'd find them obnoxious if they didn't remind me of myself so much. The only difference is his characters tend to be more s
Thomas Armstrong
Jul 10, 2014 Thomas Armstrong rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this thin book of short stories. His simplicity was beguiling. I can see this book as a reference for me to go back to when I want direction in writing clear, clean, precise narrative sentences. He almost had an aphoristic narrative style, which moved from one haiku-like image to the next with Zen-like clarity. Also, the themes of the stories were quite original and varied, not just variations on one or two themes. I did notice certain descriptive elements in many of them (e.g. ...more
Jun 11, 2016 Gina rated it really liked it
This read like a distilled version of Light Years: similar people, similar situations, similar feelings... different of course, but all molded out of the same cast - they're a sort of more-than-human Salter race, with their "pure features" and "faces without expression", with defects that are "revered", "wide mouths", "curious distances between the eyes"... faces that are "open but unknowable", "indifferent to life".....

And if this was an author any less talented than Salter, the text would fall
Michael Jarvis
Jan 18, 2016 Michael Jarvis rated it really liked it
James Salter was a chiseler (not a cheat, the other one) of sentences, a fine watch maker, a diamond cutter, a wordsmith of the highest order. He died last year, leaving a solid body of work and a legacy as a writer’s writer, which often translates into one who achieved less than popular acclaim.
Here’s a paragraph from his story, Via Negativa, from Dusk and Other Stories.

In the street he saw on every side, in darkening windows, in reflections, as if suddenly it were visible to him, a kind of cha
Frances Coles
Jun 23, 2014 Frances Coles rated it it was ok
I really dislike James Salter. This book was actually a goodreads "recommendation" for me, and it was almost a relief to realize that, ha, my tastes are not that predictable or easily summed up by a computer algorithim. (Though I have to admit that they were spot on in recommending Mavis Gallant.) Why do I so dislike James Salter? Um, he's unbelievably sexist, though I consider myself to be quite lenient in that regard and sexism doesn't bother me nearly as much in, for example, Mailer and Bello ...more
Elizabeth Bradley
Apr 11, 2012 Elizabeth Bradley is currently reading it
so far - brutal, beautiful. Not that Salter would use either of those words. I don't like his characters in these stories (not one bit!) but their nastiness and indifference is compelling. It feels like Cheever if Cheever published in Playboy Magazine and was edited by Laurie Colwin. Wait, did Cheever publish in Playboy?
Thing Two
Jul 27, 2016 Thing Two rated it liked it
As Salter stories go, this was a good collection. He has a good eye for the details, and brings a sense of place to his stories. I especially liked Dirt, and his description of the smell and texture of dirt.
Jun 24, 2012 April rated it liked it

Not my favorite of Salter's so far. I prefer his newer (2003) short story collection, Last Night. I'm sure he doesn't care what I prefer either way.
Antonio Marts
"Anocher" de Salter es uno de esos libros donde pareciera que todo está en pausa. Cada cuento espera la resolución en la última línea.

Llegué a este libro por recomendación del amigo de un amigo que ambos sabemos tiene fama de tener un excelente gusto y una gran bagaje lector. Sinceramente esperaba más. Termino el libro y me deja la impresión de ser de una gran medianía, con excepciones en un par de cuentos, los demás se alargar y regodean en la espera, en el no pasa nada, en la monotonía. Quizá
Pablo Paz
Sep 04, 2014 Pablo Paz rated it it was amazing
otra vez salter... librazo
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James Salter (1925 - 2015) was a novelist, short story writer, and screenwriter. Salter grew up in New York City and was a career officer and Air Force pilot until his mid-thirties, when the success of his first novel (The Hunters, 1957) led to a fulltime writing career. Salter’s potent, lyrical prose earned him acclaim from critics, readers, and fellow novelists. His novel A Sport and a Pastime ( ...more
More about James Salter...

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“Women fall in love when they get to know you. Men are just the opposite. When they finally know you they're ready to leave” 141 likes
“That night she heard the branches tapping against the house and the window frames rattle. She sat alone and thought of the geese, she could hear them out there. It had gotten cold. The wind was blowing their feathers. They lived a long time, ten or fifteen years, they said. The one they had seen on the lawn might still be alive, settled back into the fields with the others, in from the ocean where they went to be safe, the survivors of bloody ambushes. Somewhere in the wet grass, she imagined, lay one of them, dark sodden breast, graceful neck still extended, great wings striving to beat, bloody sounds coming from the holes in its beak. She went around and turned on the lights. The rain was coming down, the sea was crashing, a comrade lay dead in the whirling darkness.” 4 likes
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