james salter, né horowitz

Cohen1Rich Cohen at The Jewish Review of Books:

James Salter changed his name from Horowitz for the same reason the Turks renamed Constantinople: He liked it better that way. His career, which began with spare war stories in the mid-1950s, has culminated, just now, with his magnum opus, All That Is, an autumnal novel that caps a stunning body of work. More than any other artist’s, Salter’s career, intentionally or not, has perfectly described the situation of many American Jews, who feel at once free and not free, liberated from Judaism yet stubbornly defined by it. Salter speaks to all those who intermarried and joined the club, donned white bucks and seersucker, who, lost in Sag Harbor and Hilton Head, have spent years trying to slip the shackles as Houdini, né Weiss, slipped his shackles before the multitudes. Between Salter’s most elegant lines, I can still hear Horowitz scream.Neither Bellow nor Roth, it’s Salter—defined by what he’s left out—whose art depicts the Jew who has tried to dissolve the ancient in the American quotidian but still feels a pang of difference.

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