Salinger died. Just four books and fragments we know of. As Sontag said, the point’s not to keep writing books. It’s to write a book that lasts.
I got split as a teen not by the Catcher but Franny & Zooey, all sure on breath and falling out of the world. Now I think I’ll go back to it for the first time. Maybe see how it hit me like a cue ball and warped my trajectory. Yeah, for me it’s that book. I’m pretty sure without it I’d have spent my time in a lab coat rather than the unemployment line with a book to kill time.
Catcher came later– I’d never read a novel I liked before, much less one I had to track down everything he’d written. Thank God I didn’t fall for Louis L’Amour. Or Balzac.
Now I get to reread F&Z to see not, as we say, “how it’s held up,” but how I’ve held up. 16-year-old me. Him looking over my shoulder, anxious for the metaphysics, oblivious to the East Coast class consciousness I see now in the first paragraph.
My memory of it until now is one big chunk, all Franny on the couch.
This could take a while. Maybe I should just track down Dariush Mehrjui’s Pari instead. Thank God for Iranian groceries!