Memorable Days

In late 1969 James Salter received a long, admiring fan letter about his novel A Sport and a Pastime, which had been published two years earlier. The letter was from Robert Phelps, and it prompted a friendship and a correspondence that continued for years. In any era their letters would have been remarkable for their wit, their brio, their love, and in our era of rapid communications, the letters are especially remarkable for their depth, the sense of dwelling fully in each moment so that nothing essential is lost. Salter once observed that the goal in writing is to give the reader aesthetic pleasure on each page, and in this back-and-forth between great friends, the pleasure comes in every line.

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