Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Few writers have been as reclusive as J.D. Salinger, maybe none. At the height of his success he simply disappeared from the literary scene, and basically disappeared from public view moving deeper and deeper into eastern religions.
There is a new biography of the writer, J.D. Salinger, A Life by Kenneth Slawenski. With Salinger's works being favorites of mine, but knowing he was reclusive I was surprised when a biography was published a couple of months ago.
The book isn't strictly a biography, it's also a discussion about Salinger's works from his early stories through The Catcher in the Rye and on to his last works, Franny and Zooey and Raise High the Roof Beams Carpenters. There was much I never knew about Salinger, including the fact that he spent a year of his life living about fifteen minutes up the road from me.
Knowing how reclusive Salinger was and how he often distorted public records and interviews it's remarkable that Slawenski was able to piece this together. It would be hard to pick a section of the book that didn't interest me.
Fascinating stuff and a good read. Random House Publishers. $27 list, but less at most stores.