J.D. Salinger Still in Hiding; I Still Have Trouble With Novels

Did you happen to catch the huge article about J.D. Salinger in The New York Times a couple weeks ago? It's a great read.

I've been rather fascinated with Salinger since high school. While I skimmed through most of the books I was assigned to read (not out of a sense of anti-establishment idealism, but out of laziness), I did get through and love all of Nine Stories, his short fiction collection, and I almost got to the end of The Catcher in the Rye. (I told you I have trouble with novels, even if I love them!)

The fact that he's been in seclusion in New Hampshire since the 50s and that he's not released anything else he's written since the 60s has added to the myth, a myth so intriguing that I actually read W.P. Kinsella's novel, Shoeless Joe, from cover to cover because Salinger actually appeared as a character. It's strange, funny, and heartbreaking. (Shoeless Joe was later made into the Kevin Costner film, Field of Dreams, and the Salinger character was replaced by a fictional author played by James Earl Jones.) I also wrote a short play in college that was built around Salinger's hermit-like lifestyle.

Okay. What should I do? Read Nine Stories over again (it's been about decade, maybe more), read The Catcher in the Rye from beginning to end, or try one of his other books? (Granted, this is not a high priority—I have a about a half dozen novels written by my novelists friends in the queue. [Couldn't you all have been flash fiction writers instead?])

Read the entire article here.


  1. I think you should try Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction because they are really just collected long stories, neither novel length. I love the Glass family so much, and you are familiar with most of them from the assorted delights in Nine Stories. You could use the same rational knowing that Franny and Zooey can function as separate stories as well, but it reads like a novel so it's harder to escape. Although I think you would love Zooey Glass personally.

    Thanks for the link to this great article, I can't wait to read it. I was just recently thinking of Shoeless Joe, which was given to me by a friend who knew how much I loved JD Salinger, and I loved that story and the fictional character of him in it also...

  2. Many years ago, a co-worker noticed that I was reading Catcher and said, "Franny and Zooey is better." He was right.

  3. Wow, you two, you're actually getting me excited about reading again. You know what I'm going to start with. I'm going to re-read one story from Nine Stories! Excited.

  4. The last time I read Nine Stories I read it out loud, and it made everything new. Especially "Teddy"

  5. Riase High The Roofbeam Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction!

    My God.

    Are you going to go through this life without reading this book, Prince?

    It's so good! I read it over 6 years ago and I still think about it...often.

  6. I loved Catcher in the Rye. A part of me wonders if JD served as part of the inspiration for the author Sean Connery played in that movie Finding Forrester, which despite its bad reviews I really enjoyed.

  7. catcher in the rye is SO overrated. i thought so as a high school student, later when i read it again... and one more time when i took it on when my daughter was reading it in school. we agreed his main character was a fuckwit.

    i do like franny and zooey, but, that's about it for his stuff.

  8. Ah, decisions, decisions....