Bought at Kepler's last night a copy of the new Modern Library edition of James Salter's Dusk and Other Stories, more out of solidarity with a struggling bookstore (is there any other kind?) and in support of Salter than out of any need for this edition. The only unique material is an introduction by Philip Gourevitch, which is casual, brief and very disappointing. Gourevitch offers some unfocused praise, a quote from the text, a few quotes from Salter's interview in the Paris Review (Gourevitch was until recently the editor of the Paris Review) and we're out of here. I wish someone would do an introduction to a Salter reprint who worked on it as hard as Salter did.
He does include one lovely quote from that interview that I had forgotten, and which constitutes the central predicament of the publisher, bookseller and writer in the age of the internet: "All this is going to vanish. The only thing left will be the prose and the poems, the books, what is written down. Man was very fortunate to have invented the book. Without it the past would completely vanish, and we would be left with nothing, we would be naked on earth." Salter said that in 1993 in celebration, but it was really a valediction.
I also note that Modern Library has dropped their lengthy biographical fore-matter, which was anonymously written or at least worked over by the author of the book -- Joseph Mitchell wrote his, and it's a lovely job. The cover illustration of "Dusk" is pleasant -- windows at dusk, one of them lit from within -- but overall there is nothing about the book to herald its classic status. Cost including tax: $24.04.