Salinger: An Introduction

What we have of Jerome Salinger’s writings can at best be a mere introduction to his deeply felt literary world. It’s practically criminal that all the quiet readers out there, the monks and brothers and sisters, in a phrase, the holy children of make-believe, were so quickly uninvited to attend any more Glass family functions.

Dear old Tyger that Sleeps:


One typically musical morning, I caught an interview with Philip Roth on NPR.  The old goat was efficient as ever with his words, saying he didn’t believe in God because he didn’t like being lied to. Now I’m not sure who was lying to him about God but I’ve come to agree with what my cousin told me that day who had also listened to the interview “by chance”. She said that Mr. Roth should try keeping better company—fewer liars, I think she meant—and that this dose of wholesome truth could only stand to improve his writing. Now I don’t take that for a cutting remark about Roth’s skill, or better put, taste, for writing, or better put still, his taste for reading, but that’s because I had the great luck of being born my cousin’s cousin. Who wants to read a novel about illness? she said. It would be impossible for me to agree with her spirit any more than I already do. She’d think it pretty laughable of me sitting here trying to say something the way a dead man used to say it, which is besides the fact that he’s already said it. Still, beautifully meditative up there in New Hampshire you can’t help but wish he’d have said something, but then again, he did. It’s all there, from Esmé to Boo Boo. But he didn’t say it loudly and, loudness being all the rage, America turned its watery eyes toward another great literary hope who turns out to be rather hopeless and even proud of it.

Seymour once said that all we do our whole lives is go from one little piece of Holy Ground to the next. Is he never wrong?

             --Jerome Salinger (is probably laughing while he turns with the stars)

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