J.D. Salinger Dead

At age 91. Somewhere Holden Caulfield is pretending he doesn’t care.

I was not a fan (although that’s not the same as saying I didn’t think he wrote well), but I know some of you were. So my sympathies to you, and here, have a thread to talk about it.

24 Comments on “J.D. Salinger Dead”

  1. So a short time away from either finding the biggest treasure trove of unpublished stories since the Dead Sea Scrolls, or this decade’s Al Capone’s Vault moment. Please keep Gerado Rivera away.

  2. So we’re a short time away …

    Hey, I’m sure Salinger’s stuff will need an editor, too.

  3. God bless, Mister Salinger. You were certain an unique giant upon the earth.

    Soon, the flood gates will open for all books he was supposedly writing and filing away.

  4. Never read Salinger and never had an inkling to. What is it about “Catcher in the Rye” that is supposed to be so compelling? Is it a generational thing? It was massive forty years ago as a ground-breaking work and has just been coasting? I just wonder what the big deal is, honestly.

  5. “Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, glory in the flower, we will grieve not; rather find strength in what remains behind.”

    Ciao dude. You are loved forever.

  6. Even when I read Catcher in the Rye in high school, I didn’t want to finish it because I didn’t feel like listening to Caulfield whine for another 50 pages. I did (finish), and have never read any more of his work since.

    I am intrigued by the Vault of Salinger scenario that now lies before us…

  7. I’ve not read anything of his work other than Catcher in the Rye, and that was only because someone else recommended it.

    I think its appeal has much to do with your state of mind and life circumstances at time of reading, at least that was the case for me. I read the first half when all was peachy-keen in my life and had the same thought others had of “why won’t this kid quit whining?”. I read the second half right after some not-so-good things happened to me, and all of a sudden I could empathize with the characters and story a whole lot more.

    And I wasn’t even (much of) an angsty teenager at the time!

  8. Just passed the word to my dog Zooey. He lay down on his bean bag and sighed. Of course, he would have done it anyway.

    Is anyone wondering, if there is an afterlife, what Robert Parker and JD Salinger are saying to each other?

  9. Couldn’t get into Catcher, but my brother lent me Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Franny and Zooey and for a week or so at around age 18 I was totally enthralled.

    From his Wikipedia page, a strange dude, with an amazing perpetual income. Good that he lived so long to enjoy it.

  10. #16 El, I’m with you. I never could stand Holden, but most of his other books were great. And very unlike Catcher. It’s a shame so many people only know that one book.

  11. I only read _Catcher In The Rye_ once and, frankly, I don’t remember a whole lot about the story. What I *do* remember is that I read it at my great uncle’s house while I was falling asleep after an evening spent drinking *massive* amounts of gin before the meal, wine during, and scotch afterwards and I kept falling asleep while reading the book and forcing myself awake because I desperately wanted to finish it (how I determined that I couldn’t finish it the next day can be attributed, I suppose, to fuzzy thinking from the same amount of booze in my system).

    So, yeah, I guess I thought it was pretty good at the time.

  12. Kejia,
    Yes, I’ve been wondering all day.
    And Mr. Scalzi,
    What you said. (Although I think it might be Howard & J. D. saying “Where’s the bar, Robert?”)

  13. It’s funny — living in the upper Connecticut Valley (about 20 min from Cornish), it hasn’t been uncommon to occasionally have a conversation like the following,

    “Oh my god, I think I just saw J. D. Salinger at WalMart (or Price Chopper, or the dump, etc).”
    “No you didn’t.”
    “I totally did!”
    “You don’t even know what he looks like.”
    “His picture was on the back of his book.”
    “That was, like, fifty years ago.”
    “Screw you, you just don’t want to believe me.” (or “You’re just jealous” or “I believed you when you said you saw C. Everett Koop at KMart!”)

    I’ve been on the skeptical side of that conversation maybe half a dozen times now. I’m kind of sad now that I’ll never be the dope on the other side of it. (I really did run into C. Everett Koop in the parking lot of KMart. No mistaking that facial hair.)

  14. Never read Catcher, but have read and re-read all his other stuff, which still makes me sigh and smile. 91, and living the way he wanted to…not a bad run at all.

  15. sheesh, I read Catcher when I was 17 (43 yrs ago, yikes!) and enjoyed the read. I have a copy of the book now and I remember it making me laugh at the time? Think I’ll read it again to see how the years have changed my view of the book.

  16. I just reread his four major books a few months ago. Catcher holds up pretty well, but Franny & Zooey is his masterpiece, a precise, intricately assembled, deceptively light story about love. That’s the one to read, although it helps if you have an affinity for 1. vaudeville history, and 2. New York intellectuals.

    Seymour, an Introduction also contains a number of excellent short stories and makes a good companion piece to the later Franny & Zooey. By the time of Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters, Salinger seemed to just be coasting self-indulgently. This last book’s a bore, frankly.

    Janet Malcolm had a good article on Franny & Zooey in the NY Times Review of Books back in 2001: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/14272

  17. To all those that criticize “Catcher in the Rye”.

    Write something that is better. Then criticize.

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