Memorable Days: The Selected Letters of James Salter and Robert Phelps
The late James Salter had written two novels, The Hunters and The Arm of Flesh, but it was his third, remarkable novel A Sport and a Pastime, together with his film Three and a script he had written for Downhill Racer that in 1969 elicited a letter of admiration from a writer and critic he did not know—Robert Phelps. The correspondence that resulted went on to span two decades, producing letters that are exceptionally alive, uninhibited, gossipy, touching, and brilliant. The successes of Salter and the struggles of Phelps are fully explored by the writers themselves with the honesty only private letters can divulge. Along with an insightful foreword by Michael Dirda, this book gives voice to a nearly forgotten figure and his friendship with a man he admired.
"Salter inhabits the same rarefied heights as Flannery O'Connor, Paul Bowles, Tennessee Williams, and John Cheever."—Washington Post Book World
"Authors Salter and Phelps reveal their undying friendship and intense connection in this well-edited collection of 20 years of their correspondence. After the release of Salter's film Three, Phelps wrote him a letter conveying his appreciation for many of his works. A relationship immediately bloomed. In letters the two men mention family matters often, but in a matter-of-fact manner; real displays of emotion were saved for addressing each another, as though each were the most important person in the other's life. They discuss hardships and challenges within their personal and professional lives (expressing concern over writing for personal vs. monetary gain, for instance). It's apparent that both men lived their lives for the thrill of art and writing, but also greatly enjoyed having a partner with whom they were able to intimately discuss their passions and dreams. More than friends and less than lovers, Salter and Phelps were literary soul mates."—Publishers Weekly