ARM OF FLESH by James Salter


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A distinctly experimental novel, as against the earlier, tighter The Hunters, also uses an airbase as its setting, and the alternating first person commentary intercepts, very fitfully, the lives of some twenty members of a squadron stationed there. Few appear- more than momentarily- and among them Walter Clyde, Squadron Commander; Isbell, his operations officer; Godchaux, Sisse, and Lt. Cassada- newest of the pilots- a Puerto Rican who is both nervous and eager. Only Isbell achieves more than a glancing contact with the reader- Isbell, on a routine flight with Cassada which heads into trouble, and there is a sensitive instrument reading of his thoughts in the expectation of death. While the technique here is deliberately oblique- the writing, certainly in the sequences which are off the ground, has a clean, luminous quality.

Publisher: Harper