James Salter is an American novelist and short-story writer. Originally a career officer and pilot in the United States Air Force, he abandoned the military profession in 1957 following the successful publication of his first novel, The Hunters.
After a brief career in film writing and film directing, Salter became a "writer's writer" in 1979 with publication of the novel Solo Faces. He has won numerous literary awards for his works, including belated recognition of works originally rejected at the time of their publication. His friend and fellow author, the Pulitzer Prize-winner Richard Ford, goes so far as to say, "It is an article of faith among readers of fiction that James Salter writes American sentences better than anybody writing today" in his Introduction to Light Years for Penguin Modern Classics.