That Summer's Trance

J. R. Salamanca
ISBN 9781566492201 (paperback)
Published in July 2001
MSRP $14.00
Other editions available:
"J.R. Salamanca is a brilliant writer, one of this country's most remarkable stylists. His prose shimmers with light, with the exacting registers of emotion and thought. In That Summer's Trance, his subject is betrayal, both of oneself and others, in a culture of material rewards. It is an unforgettable story of one actor outdone by another, and it tells us more about role-playing, and the theater of everyday life, than I would have thought possible. Read this book."
- Charles Baxter, author of The Feast of Love
"Hypnotic and beautiful, J. R. Salamanca's That Summer's Trance makes you feel as young as a first-time lover and then as jaded and wicked as a libertine in Les Laisons Dangereuses. Salamanca is rhapsodic about the birth of passion, wise about passion's death, and, oh, he is terrifyingly knowledgeable about love's revenge on those who are unloving."
- Michael Silverblatt, Bookworm, KCRW, Public Radio
"After a hiatus of fourteen years, Salamanca has graced the literate reading public with a novel that is at once subtle and painfully direct. His concerns this time are art and artifice, and the ruthless nature of each. As ever, Salamanca is a poet of the highest order and his metaphysics are as stunning as his metaphors."
- Charley Rosen, author of The House of Moses All Stars
"(An) introspective, detail-rich and haunting literary novel . . . relentless, dignified, lengthy and fully realized."
- Starred Review Publishers Weekly
"An unconventional midlife crisis that unsparingly reveals its secretive protagonist's outwardly successful life and persistent inner demons . . . A tale that builds extra layers of complexity and power with every fine tuned paragraph."
- Starred review, Kirkus Reviews
Benedict Oakshaw is a gifted young American studying at London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where he distinguishes himself by the power and originality of his performances. During his days at the Academy he is captivated by a fellow student, an English girl named Jill who is brilliant, talented, and utterly defiant of convention. Their long, intense affair comes to an end when Ben meets Priscilla, an American girl who works at the American Embassy in London. They fall in love and marry. Returning to the States, Ben makes a futile attempt to gain a foothold on the American stage; abandoning the theater, he eventually becomes the enormously successful owner of a major ad agency in Washington, D. C.

Years later, Priscilla and Ben attend a play which Jill has written and in which she is performing at the Kennedy Center, and they go backstage to congratulate her. Priscilla, charmed by the playwright and completely unaware of her prior relationship with Ben, invites Jill and the British journalist who has become her constant companion to join Ben and herself on their annual summer vacation at their beach house on the Outer Banks.

What ensues is the summer trance of vacation. Ben comes to realize, which is haunted by the future as well as by the past. For the unborn are as implacable as the dead and the deserted, and on special stages love is not given in vain, and no gift is spurned with impunity, and desire does not fail.