‘Catcher in the Rye’ author JD Salinger Dead at 91
Reclusive and brilliant, American author JD Salinger has died at the age of 91.
Salinger penned The Catcher in the Rye, Franny and Zooey, the short story collection Nine Stories, the novellas Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction, and Hapworth 16, 1924.
Salinger had not published since 1965, nor did he grant an interview from 1980 onward. Natural causes are cited as the reason for his passing.
The Catcher in the Rye, Salinger’s first book, sold over 60 million copies, and cemented Salinger as a canonical figure. It is still one of the most widely-taught novels in public school, and still feels urgent, controversial. To read Salinger is to enter into a complete world. His stories presented readers with an utterly natural, strange and often disturbing landscape. Few writers since have come close to capturing the narrative completeness Salinger achieved. Nothing is out of place, in other words. Perhaps more than any other writer of the last 60 years, he set the course fiction would take. I haven’t met a writer yet who says they don’t care for Salinger. Maybe there is one out there, and maybe they’re just jealous.
Personally, what I loved about Salinger was his insistence on the use of anti-heroes. Deeply flawed characters with whom the reader was forced to share a journey. Though he had exited the stage of letters as an active participant long ago, there was some comfort knowing that he was holed up in some New England home, perhaps even typing out a page now and again.