At The Millions, Sonya Chung posts a sane, smart response to Katie Roiphe's recent NYT essay, in which she complains about the tentative approach to sex preferred by four contemporary American novelists. (In Roiphe's essay, this handful of writers is taken quite wrongly to be somehow representative of the whole of current American fiction).

Chung's essay is worth reading in its entirety, not least because she generously includes a hilarious catalogue, with examples (!), of ways that eros goes all wrong on the page. More seriously, she draws the reader's attention to the under-recognized writing of James Salter, and rightly so, because he does get it right, and spectacularly so, in his novel A Sport and a Pastime.

Chung: "The first time I read A Sport and a Pastime, just two years ago, I knew I'd experienced something unusual, alive, difficult in its directness; not something to look upon 'fondly,' but a story that, like all great art, connected me more deeply and truthfully to my whole human self -- sans irony or 'cool.''