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Thursday, January 28, 2010

RIP: J. D. Salinger

I know he wasn't a science fiction or fantasy author, but J. D. Salinger, author of the controversial and classic Catcher in the Rye passed away yesterday. His death was apparently due to natural causes (which is a fancy way of saying "died of old age"). There's a lot more at the link that might be of interest (it details a lot of his life, particularly as a writer).

I read Catcher in the Rye many years ago and had a love/hate relationship with it. On the one hand, I enjoyed it; on the other, I didn't get what all the hype was about. But, looking back, I think it's because of the world I live in now, which doesn't deem the controversial elements of Catcher in the Rye as particularly controversial at all (cursewords especially).

Still, Salinger was a fine author who made one hell of an impact on the literary world, and whether you love or hate his book is irrelevant.

May he rest in peace!

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  1. Anonymous7:05 PM

    A lot of people say "Catcher in the Rye" is overrated, but I don't think it is. The problem of whether or not it is appropriately rated has more to do with whether or not the reader identifies with the deeply flawed, confused, angry narrator Holden Caulfield. Something not everyone does.

    Angsty, opinionated people, constantly disappointed with themselves and by the actions of others, constantly unable to express themselves or find someone who will at least let them try, identify with Holden. People sickened by the pervading phoniness of their friends, family, and peers, despite the mendacity within themselves identify with Holden. Naturally, if you are a Holden Caulfield--whether in whole or in part--you see more than just a rambling, conflicted teen.

    "Catcher in the Rye" has earned its place in the canon solely because of its protagonist, not really because of a well-crafted plot or even for its themes (as meaningful as they are). Love him or hate him, Holden Caulfield perfectly embodies the inexplicable angst and discontent felt by millions.


  2. Croc: I completely agree. Most of my concerns about its overrated-ness had to do with the controversy of the novel. I liked it the book, but I didn't get what everyone was throwing a fit over (I also didn't get what was so attractive about the book for all the serial killers who supposedly owned a copy). But, yeah, you're right on all points there.