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Friday, 05 February 2010

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I'm having a lot of fun reading the various remembrances of Salinger. It seems more people were friendly with him than I had known, although I'm still scratching my head about the person you have in mind. Hurry up and tell us!

I wonder if Catcher means more to Americans than to others? In High School and in College there was no book that meant more to me, and I always looked down on anyone who didn't "get" Salinger, didn't get Caufield. I guess the later stuff, "Zooey" and "Raise High..." were very disappointing. Really he was a 9 story and 1 novel wonder.

I re-read Catcher and the stories when I head of his death. It's better than I remember. I guess I see it on a different level now that I'm one of the grown-ups. And I still think the later stuff is pretentious.

[One hour later] It's on the internet now. Well I'll be damned. I want to see the letters before I believe this.

Me again. I'm going on the record here. I think it's a Howard Hughes type of hoax. Why? Supposedly, Salinger wrote this: "Pitch perfect dialogue and sharp social observation is what it’s all about."

Everyone says that about Salinger, especially the phrease "pitch perfect dialogue." So Salinger would not say that of himself. If you found a letter from Shakespeare saying "I will hide elements of homo-eroticism in the (20th? -- the one that mentions prick) sonnet", would you believe it? That's only what others say. Talent is not conscious of itself.

Ah, the not-very-secret secret is out! Yes, of all people, 'Taki', the rich "little Greek boy" and Salinger the hermit. Apparently 'Taki' has access to certain information which he claims must remain private for now and which will eventually confirm his claim. Their mutual correspondence has been going on for years and began because Salinger was a regular reader of the London Spectator. What a rum literary footnote that will be, if true.

As I said above, I did read his book and my remembrance is that I enjoyed it without being bowled over by it, but I was then not nearly as introspective as I am today! Of course, you were right to correct me that he did write some others but they never - how could they? - match the success of 'Catcher'.

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