‘Neither you nor Buddy know how to talk to people you don’t like.’

typed for your pleasure on 28 January 2010, at 4.48 pm

Sdtrk: ‘When it rains, the puddles shine black’ by Leyland Kirby

It appears that another one of my favourite authors has passed away: Jerome David Salinger has died of natural causes at his home in New Hampshire, at the age of 91.

JD Salinger, in a recent photo

Obituary: JD Salinger
BBC News | Published Thursday, 28 January 2010

When The Catcher in the Rye first appeared in 1951, chronicling 48 hours in the life of a teenage rebel, Holden Caulfield, as he wanders the streets of New York in a state of mental collapse, it enjoyed early, but modest success.

But within a few years, it had become a bible of teenage dissent in America and a staple of high school and freshman college English courses.

A study of adolescence — at once tender and harshly honest — it spoke for millions of young people who didn’t want to be “phoney” in a commercial, materialistic world.

Caulfield became a cult figure comparable with James Dean, but it seems the novel also had an undesirable influence on Mark David Chapman, who said he killed John Lennon to promote Salinger’s work, and the man who shot and wounded Ronald Reagan, John Hinckley.

Almost immediately after “Catcher” was published, Salinger became disillusioned with publishing.

He hated interviews and contact with the public and in 1953, increasingly fed up with publishing and the public, he bought a house at Cornish, New Hampshire, and retreated into a seclusion that was to last for the rest of his life.
the entire article is here

Like many people, I was introduced to Salinger through ‘The Catcher in the Rye’, which stands as an honest tale of disillusionment. It may be slightly dated — it takes place during the very late Forties — but its sentiment still holds true. But then I began reading his other stories, and pretty much fell unhealthily in love with the Glass family, a family of five brothers and two sisters. They were blessed with precociousness at a young age, which was exploited for years through being panelists on a radio quiz show, and suffered the price for it as they grew older.
From Holden to the Glass family, as well as many other Salinger characters, the underlying theme of many of his stories is that of a dissatisfaction with the way society is, and how short of falling into lockstep conformity, living a decent individualistic lifestyle can be extremely difficult.

Salinger is once quoted as saying that he was in this world, but not of it, which is a sentiment I can completely empathise with. It may sound strange coming from someone who enjoys being a public face for the community that he represents, but apart from the resonant and bittersweet tone of his characters, I always admired the fact that Salinger was a recluse’s recluse, and yet still managed to garner the attention of millions. That’s really something to be proud of

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

18 May 1980 on May 18th, 2013

Jumping on the bandwagon on April 13th, 2007

9 have spoken to “‘Neither you nor Buddy know how to talk to people you don’t like.’”

  1. veach writes:

    Creativity, pregnant with Crazy, may mature and bloom before Crazy’s birth, but eventually nurturing and caring for Crazy is inevitable. Sometimes Creativity is stronger; other times Crazy is a motherfecker. Mr Salinger (who’s few works I also admire) survived so very much longer than other artists with his level of Creativity. I wonder if becoming a hermit/paranoia were his only coping mechanisms/tools to keep Crazy on a leash. (?)

  2. Davecat writes:

    Then there’s the other reclusive author that seems to have a good grip on combining Creativity and Crazy, Thomas Pynchon, although I don’t like him as much as Salinger.

    His reclusive qualities, I think, betray that he was probably a lot closer to Holden Caufield than everyone thinks. Seeing as that for years, he was constantly besieged with misguided offers of cashing in on a talent that he grew to view as something intensely private, it’s easy to understand why he viewed society as ‘a bunch of phonies’, and shutting himself off from the world was the only way he could deal with it. And as any artist knows, people can be horrible distractions, even if they seemingly have the best intentions.

  3. Claire writes:

    msg has read everything that salinger wrote and tells me he’s amazing. i guess i really need to crack some of those books open. he also tells me he felt a bit of a guilty hope when he heard that the guy had died. most of the stories about salinger apparently claim that he’s kept writing all these years, so in theory there might be a bunch of books published if his heirs decide to release some of his post-public work. i said, “yeah, that’s kind of a ghoulish first reaction to have when you hear somebody died, msg!” and he said, “i know, i know … i’m terrible! but it’s not like i was pulling for the guy to die, and he made it past 90, for crying out loud. can’t i hope there’s a silver lining to the news?” i told him if he bought me something pretty it might redeem my opinion of him and he said he’d think about it if i read some salinger.

  4. Davecat writes:

    Your lad is right — Salinger is amazing, and you should read everything he’s written! Everything available, that is. Shi-chan agrees! I suggest starting with ‘Franny and Zoey’, to get a feel for the Glass family, and the Missus says to give ‘Nine stories’ a go, as it’s not all about the Glass family. But read them! READ THEM ALL. Although I can’t really suggest ‘Seymour: an Introduction’, as it kinda goes on a bit.

    I can empathise with MSG’s sentiment that maybe, just maybe, we’ll see some more Salinger stories and prose… err, post-mortem. Sigh. It does sound rather like looting the dead, but ALL THOSE STORIES! Joyce Maynard, one of Salinger’s lovers, once said that there were shelves of notebooks dealing with the Glass family alone. Can you imagine?? Besides, if they can exhume the past with lesser artists *coughTupaccough*, why not someone really worthy of the attention?

    And we really have to get you your own Gravatar, y’know. People are missing out on your cuteness. 🙂

  5. Claire writes:

    where do i sign up for a gravatar? not only to i adore having people comment on my cuteness, but msg says that sounds like a cool 1980s video game too.

  6. Davecat writes:

    He’s right! I always rued the fact that it had such a fab name, but I couldn’t play it for shite. Ergh.

    And you can get yourself a Gravatar from the aptly-named Gravatar.com! The procedure is quick, painless, and non-invasive.
    Let the Cuteness Comments commence! 🙂

  7. Claire writes:

    okay, i’ve signed up and uploaded my pic, so let’s see if it works …

  8. Claire writes:


  9. Davecat writes:

    Hoorah, indeed! 🙂

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