reading salter


This is philosophical fiction and what Janine and Ardis are hungry for and what they stumble upon in the course of their “adulteries,” goes beyond the physical or sexual, beyond earthly love. Salter and Camus have given their women a deeper reach, a solitary quest for something that no man—husband or lover—could possibly embody or provide for a woman, and vice versa. It is the aspiration, the urge, the hunger to go into the pure space of Rilke’s “open.” In the everyday Ardis and Janine yearn for an essential life, for the quiver and tremble of copious primal love. Both are “unfaithful” and in their consummation with nature, sky, the night, they are given the taste, the thirst for something transcendental and they are both saved and ruined and there will be no going back for them, ever. In the final scene of “My Lord You” when the dog is resurrected at dawn and disappears, Ardis is bereft. She will never see him again. Salter tells us that the dog may be gone—”lost, living elsewhere, his name perhaps to be written in a line someday though most probably he was forgotten, but not by her.”

more from Mary Costello at Guernica here.