Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Greater Consummation: Salter's A Sport and a Pastime

Remember that the life of this world is but a sport and a pastime… –Koran, LVII19.  

James Salter’s 1967 novel A Sport and a Pastime has this Quranic quote as an epigraph.  Given the book's content, it is hard to know if Salter is wielding these words as irony or cautionary tale.  In this book of total sensual immersion of both main characters, a sexual oblivion that orders reality in a mysticism light, it appears to convey both meanings.   Dean and Anne-Marie's story of love and eroticism, although successful, ultimately fails as it encounters the rock bottom of the human physical and spiritual trajectory.  This books shows how the great oblivion which sex and love seek and often find is easily swallowed up in the greater consummation of death.

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