Last Night

Terrible book, although you can derive some pleasure from laughing in your sleeve at the book blurb that proclaims “from a writer whose every book is a literary event, a superbly accomplished work of fiction.” It’s amusing yet depressing to read Salter’s women – he claims such supremacy in painting their addled pictures, women who scream and taunt and tease, and the idiot men who fall into the arms of their mistresses (or gay lovers) after they’ve delivered a fatal syringe to help the wife ease her way into death. (That one doesn’t end well– the wife stumbles downstairs the next morning to find the entangled pair, the syringe didn’t work.) After he thinks he mercy-kills his wife, the most mind-numbing, musta-been-written-by-a-dude lines emerge (my comments in parentheses):
He led her (the mistress), in a short skirt and blouse, to a room to one side of the front door and made her sit on the bed. She was taking slow breaths. – Susanna. – Yes. – I need you. She more or less heard him. Her head was thrown back like that of a woman longing for God. – I shouldn’t have drunk so much, she murmured. He began to unbutton her blouse (sidenote– only men write “blouse” anymore and I think it’s only for the effect of being able to unbutton it). – No, she said, trying to rebutton it. He was unfastening her brassiere (Ditto). Her gorgeous breasts emerged. (Really?) He could not take his eyes from then. He kissed them passionately. (sigh) She felt herself moved to the side as he pulled down the cover of the white sheets. She tried to speak again, but he put his hand over her mouth and pushed her down (lovely). He devoured her… (blah blah, pornography).
An achingly awful book that you should avoid, don’t be lured in by the siren song of Susan Sontag promising that she looks forward to each and every one of Salter’s books as if they are straight from god.