Collected Stories

James Meek writes:

Salter’s images are not static points observed by a character or narrator but conduits through which narrative flows. They are an aspect of the virtuosity that makes him singular, his mastery of time, the raw material of narrative fiction. There is a Salterian unit of time that partakes of a moment (when you live it, intensely), a season (it is that time of year), and eternity (there have been such seasons, and always will be). The particular instant of time emerges from the general mood of the season, its light and temperature and smells and colours. Others do this but few achieve it so smoothly, in such a way as to create, in the reader, the duality that is the trick of our consciousness of the actual passage of time, where a specific event, and the mood of the era in which it occurred, are two linked but distinct memories. The moments we remember are embedded in states it seems we have always known.

(LRB 20 June 2013)

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