Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Catcher in the Rye is gone: JD Salinger Dead at 91

News recap by Danielle, Guest Commentary by LG

BBC News reported today that beloved American novelist JD Salinger, 91, has died of natural causes:
The reclusive writer died of natural causes at his home in the state of New Hampshire, his son said.

The Catcher In The Rye, first published in 1951, is a tale of teenage angst. It has become one of the most influential American novels of the modern era.

Soon after its publication, Salinger shunned the fame it brought and became a recluse for the rest of his life.

Read the rest of the announcement HERE

BBC has also posted Salinger’s intriguing obituary.

I first read The Catcher in the Rye when I moved to New York. A boy I was dating touted it as his favorite book of all time. I stopped seeing him before I could return his worn, tattered copy, but it was a good acquisition for my shelf.

I haven’t touched the book since the summer of 2006, and even though I found Holden Caulfield to be an interesting character, I probably would have related much easier to him if I had a) been a boy or b) been much younger. Regardless, I enjoyed the novel, and it’s one I’ll probably read again someday.

More mythical than the novel, though, is the author himself. Salinger was a reclusive nut, to put it bluntly. He wrote one great novel and then disappeared into oblivion. But, I must say, I’m glad he’s taken actions to protect his name and his novel, effectively blocking the publication of 60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye, a follow-up to the classic novel. He also refused to sell the film rights to Rye. Kudos to you, Salinger. I think a film adaptation of the book would be an atrocious rape of the text. It’s just one of those books I’d never want to see on the screen if only because it’s so iconic.

The last interview Salinger ever gave was in 1980—before I was even born. Nevertheless, the author lives on as a literary legend, a figure whose words have meant so much to untold numbers of adolescents around the country—and possibly the world.

Word has it that 15 manuscripts have been found in the deceased author’s home. I can only pray that heirs won’t violate his wishes and try to publish those books.

Though the author has passed, long live his text. Unpublished.

Have you read The Catcher in the Rye? Did it have an effect on you?

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