Document: An Outline for ‘Light Years’


James Salter Month

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center. Click to enlarge.

James Salter’s outline for his novel, Light Years, which Jhumpa Lahiri wrote about today. Writes Lahiri, “In the beginning it was the light, the warmth of the novel that enchanted me.” Note how Salter is careful to think of the seasons as he moves through the chapters. At the top of the page, Salter identifies a short list of possible titles for the novel, including The Feast Is Ended, New Life, and New Lives. On the bottom portion of this page, in his notes related to the fifth chapter, Salter writes, Life Is Meals. More than thirty years later, he would repurpose this phrase as the title of his 2006 book, cowritten with his wife, Kay Salter.

The Salter archives reside with the Harry Ransom Center, in Austin Texas.