J.D. Salinger: The Last Interview and Other Conversations (edited and introduced by David Streitfeld)

I spotted a handful of examples of this new (to me) series at Mac’s Books and was intrigued. Of course, Salinger, with his reputation for privacy, was a difficult choice. The man wanted his privacy. I was upset when someone tried to ‘out’ Elena Ferrante; why would I buy this book? I didn’t buy the Salinger biography or see the film. I was hooked by the prospect of hearing him in his own words. I kept a copy of the news clipping announcing the forthcoming publication of Hapworth 16, 1924 until it was yellow and brittle. Now I understand why the book never appeared. The book provides accounts of people who had more or less contact with him as well as a partial transcript of a deposition. So is making this book and reading it as bad as those who made the pilgrimage to his home on the off chance of having a few minutes of conversation? I’m still not sure.

But I think they got it right in the movie Field of Dreams: “The man’s done enough. Leave him alone.” So maybe that means I wish I hadn’t read it. I was one of those teens. For some reason, I can remember exactly where I was when I first started reading The Catcher in the Rye; it has stayed with me ever since.


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