He left us just four slim volumes and I’m still not sure whether any of them are particularly good. But ‘Catcher’ is inescapably part of my adolescence (yours too, I bet). And I once knew a girl called Esme who claimed she was named for ‘Love and Squalor’.
Time magazine is first with an obituary – and it’s worth reading. I particularly liked the following (about Salinger’s legenadary reclusivity): “Pynchon figured out how to turn his back on the world with a wink and a Cheshire Cat smile. Salinger did it with a scowl.”
The final Chapter (#26) of Catcher:
THAT’s all I’m going to tell about. I could probably tell you what I did after I went home, and how I got sick and all, and what school I’m supposed to go to next fall, after I get out of here, but I don’t feel like it. I really don’t. That stuff doesn’t interest me too much right now.
A lot of people, especially this one psychoanalyst guy they have here, keeps asking me if I’m going to apply myself when I go back to school next September. It’s such a stupid question, in my opinion. I mean how do you know what you’re going to do till you do it? The answer is, you don’t. I think I am, but how do I know? I swear it’s a stupid question.
D.B. isn’t as bad as the rest of them, but he keeps asking me a lot of questions, too. He drove over last Saturday with this English babe that’s in this new picture he’s writing. She was pretty affected, but very good-looking. Anyway, one time when she went to he ladies’s room, way the hell down the other wing, D.B. asked me what I thought about all this stuff I just finished telling you about. I didn’t know what the hell to say. If you want to know the truth, I don’t know what I think about it. I’m sorry I told so many people about it. About all I know is, I sort of miss everybody I told about. Even old Stradlater and Ackley, for instance. I think I even miss that goddam Maurice. It’s funny. Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.