Thursday, January 28, 2010

JD Salinger 1919-2010


In college a buddy and I raided the library and tracked down every short story JD Salinger ever published in magazines. There was no other way to read them, and we had to read them. Salinger was our shining beacon. After xeroxing the dozen or so stories from out of Saturday Evening Post, Good Housekeeping, The New Yorker, and various other postwar periodicals, we bound them up into a treasured volume. He wrote Catcher in the Rye, our bible for haberdashery, poise, and "roller skate skinny" sisters named Weatherfield. Franny and Zooey knocked our socks off. JD Salinger guided me toward a new understanding of literature and the artist. I pray that he of the agitated and alienated soul will at last rest in peace.

5 comments:

Noel said...

you got me interested in the man...thanks! Knowing my nature, I'll probably go down this rabbithole till I reached its end...which is like saying there isn't any.

Janiss said...

I was fortunate to not discover J.D. Salinger's writing until I was a professional writer myself - if I had read Franny and Zoey as a teenager, it would have probably influenced my writing WAY too much and hampered me developing my own voice! It was much nicer for me to read him when I had some perspective. I wonder if he has anything more stashed away, or (like me) just has files and files of incoherent notes.

fullet said...

Janiss has already explained the same thing I can say about Salinger, I didn't read The Book when I was younger. Two years ago I read Nine Stories, and they were so disturbing that I read at the same time some tales by Chekhov — it may sound like a sacrilege, but they complement each other well. Anyway, I enjoyed very much Salinger, it was fascinating.

wngl said...

Noel, I recommend Franny and Zooey as a good place to start with Salinger. His short story "Teddy" is also excellent.

Janiss, I hear you. His voice took over my own for a good stretch of college. According to legend, Salinger has multiple novels locked away. Who knows if they're any good, but now they have a greater likelihood of publication.

Fullet, many of his stories are dark and disturbing. The moments when a brighter tone breaks through are worth waiting for.

Lidian said...

One of my favorite writers, ever. Brilliant, with a voice like no other.