Friday, 2 December 2011

Raise high the roof beam, Salinger

In a contemporary review of JD Salinger's Franny and Zooey, John Updike almost finds a forebear for David Foster Wallace in the famously reclusive author. Updike confesses to being a fan, conceding that the 'Glass saga, as he has sketched it out, potentially contains great fiction' though he is troubled by 'the extravagant self-consciousness of Salinger's later prose, wherein most of the objections one might raise are already raised.'

Updike quotes a particularly telling phrase of Salinger's from the book's jacket flap in which the creator of Holden Caulfield seems to presage the silence that was to ensue: '... there is a real-enough danger, I suppose, that sooner or later I'll bog down, perhaps disappear entirely, in my own methods, locutions, and mannerisms. On the whole, though, I'm very hopeful.'

Salinger's final books - Franny and Zooey and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction - were published in the early 1960s from pieces that had appeared in The New Yorker in the late 1950s. His last published work, Hapworth 16, 1924, appeared in The New Yorker in June 1965. JD Salinger died in 2010, aged 91, without publishing another word.

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