Thursday, January 28, 2010

JD Salinger: 1919 - 2010.


In the summer of 1999 I had just graduated high school, and I was on a road-trip with my friend Devon. At some point (July?) we were staying with someone he knew in Montana (June?) who happened to have a copy of CATCHER IN THE RYE sitting somewhere that caught my eye, and I remember staying there reading it while everyone else left to go do something. I liked it a great deal at the time, and I'm very glad to have gotten a hold of it then because I think 18 is probably right around the end of when it can be fully appreciated.

When Norman Mailer said "Salinger was the greatest mind ever to stay in prep school" he was insulting him for having an adolescent sensibility and a slim range, but it was also a compliment, however backhanded. Mailer recognized that Salinger perfectly captured something very particular: the spirit and feelings of youth.

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2 comments:

Hectocotylus said...

"He wrote every day, but the unpublished work was stored away in a large safe that occupied a good part of one bedroom... And maybe, depending on his last wishes, some of those unpublished manuscripts will find their way into print."

There are rumored to be 15 unpublished books... It's a little bit scary if it turns out that he's been writing solely about the Glass family all this time; I suspect it might all add up to some kind of half-mad, obsessive, Dargeresque epic.

Hectocotylus said...

From The Onion:

"CORNISH, NH—In this big dramatic production that didn't do anyone any good (and was pretty embarrassing, really, if you think about it), thousands upon thousands of phonies across the country mourned the death of author J.D. Salinger, who was 91 years old for crying out loud. "He had a real impact on the literary world and on millions of readers," said hot-shot English professor David Clarke, who is just like the rest of them, and even works at one of those crumby schools that rich people send their kids to so they don't have to look at them for four years. "There will never be another voice like his." Which is exactly the lousy kind of goddam thing that people say, because really it could mean lots of things, or nothing at all even, and it's just a perfect example of why you should never tell anybody anything."