Thursday, January 28, 2010

Jerome David Salinger 1919-2010

It started with Catcher In the Rye. So often proclaimed as the ultimate favorite novel, the coming-of-age classic expresses the unarticulated moments
of our youth and the comforting thought that somewhere there is a Holden Caulfield brooding within all of us. It might sound cliche now but its reputation owes its power to the continuing influence its had on anyone under the age of eighteen and beyond since it was first published in 1951. Salinger loves to write about youths, giving them a voice that is daringly honest yet disarming. There's also this mystique about him, ignited at first by the popularity of that first novel then reinforced by his reclusive existence in rural New Hampshire, where he remained in seclusion in a town called Cornish for over 50 years. His fiercely guarded privacy along with scant photos and spotty albeit controversial information on him make him out to be an eccentric of various passions that include maintaining a prolific work ethic that's resulted in an organized body of unpublished manuscripts, as well as a self-disciplined lifestyle reflecting his different religious proclivities from Hinduism to Christian Science. These idiosyncracies surface infrequently from an absence from the spotlight while his distance from public life kept his characters untouched, less handled, and perhaps the reason why the legacy of Holden Caulfield's been living on for over 55 years. He was 91 and is survived by his daughter and son, Margaret and Matt.

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