Solo Faces: A Novel (Paperback)
Solo Faces exposes the obsession that draws climbers away from civilization to test themselves against the most intimidating and inaccessible mountains in the world.
James Salter's novel captures the adventure of Gary, a roofer of churches, who feels restrained by conventions and flat ground. Unable to find happiness in his life, he travels to southern France to climb to the summits of the Alps. He finds peace and happiness within himself soon after. But when fellow climbers are trapped on the mountain, he makes a daring one-man rescue during a storm that brings him the notice he has always shunned. But the glory quickly dissipates and he returns to the anonymity he prefers, having thoroughly satisfied himself.
About the Author
James Salter was the celebrated author of six novels (The Hunters, 1957; The Arm of Flesh, 1961; A Sport and a Pastime, 1967; Light Years, 1975; Solo Faces, 1979; and All That Is, 2013) and three books of stories (Dusk and Other Stories, 1988; Last Night, 2005; and Collected Stories, 2013), as well a memoir, Burning the Days (1997). He also had a successful Hollywood career, most notably as the screenwriter of Downhill Racer (1969). Born in New Jersey in 1926 and raised in New York City, he attended West Point during World War II and served as an officer and a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force from 1945 to 1957. He drew on his combat experiences in Korea for his first two novels, though it was not until the controversial but now-classic A Sport and a Pastime that he considered that he had come close to measuring up to his own standards. He was a recipient of the 1989 PEN/Faulkner Award and the 2012 PEN/Malamud Award. He died in Sag Harbor, New York, in 2015.
“Solo Faces contrasts a devotion to mountain climbing with the earthbound tugs of love and ordinary life . . . A beautifully composed book that will remind readers of Camus and Saint-Exupery. It exemplifies the purity it describes.” —Michael Dirda, The Washington Post
“[Salter is in] the great modern tradition of Conrad and Hemingway and Malraux.” —Samuel Hynes, The New York Times Book Review
“A terrific novel--compelling, sad, wise, and kindhearted. Mr. Salter's prose is rare and stunning . . . How energizing it is to read a novel with a real hero in it--and a real hero he is.” —John Irving