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.
The letters themselves are exceptionally alive, uninhibited, gossipy, touching, and brilliant. The success of Salter and the struggles of Phelps are fully explored by the writers themselves in an honest exchange only 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.