J.D. Salinger dies of natural causes at 91

November 10, 2010

From the Associated Press:

The novel’s sales are astonishing — more than 60 million copies worldwide — and its impact incalculable. Decades after publication, the book remains a defining expression of that most American of dreams — to never grow up.Salinger was writing for adults, but teenagers from all over identified with the novel’s themes of alienation, innocence and fantasy, not to mention the luck of having the last word. “Catcher [in the Rye]” presents the world as an ever-so-unfair struggle between the goodness of young people and the corruption of elders, a message that only intensified with the oncoming generation gap.

The article also contains a curious anecdote:

In 1999, New Hampshire neighbor Jerry Burt said the author had told him years earlier that he had written at least 15 unpublished books kept locked in a safe at his home.”I love to write and I assure you I write regularly,” Salinger said in a brief interview with the Baton Rouge (La.) Advocate in 1980. “But I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it.”

Let’s hope and pray these shoeboxed gems get published.  While Catcher in the Rye was paradigm shifting, it was Franny and Zooey that irrefragably convinced me of his unparalleled genius.  His works were decades ahead of their time.

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