I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all … I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I’d do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye.

Sally said I was a sacrilegious atheist. I probably am. The thing Jesus really would’ve liked would be the guy that plays the kettle drums in the orchestra.

(J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye)

I read The Catcher in the Rye thirty years ago and thought it dull and badly written. A couple of years ago I read it again; I still thought it dull and badly written. Anyway, sorry to hear the old bastard’s dead. He had a better life than most of us, I suspect. Screwing 18-year-old girls, drinking his own piss, and so on.

Before his death, J.D. Salinger’s publisher, Hamish Hamilton, worked with him to produce jackets for reissues of his books (originally planned for June, they are now due out next month).

Simon Prosser, publishing director, Hamish Hamilton: “There are strict rules about J.D. Salinger’s covers. The only copy allowed on the books, back or front, is the author name and the title. Nothing else at all: no quotes, no cover blurb, no biography. We’re not really sure why this is, but it gives you definite guidelines. Last year we decided it was probably time to re-design the covers, and we wanted a unique typeface that stood out. We commissioned Seb Lester, the highly regarded type designer, to hand-draw a font; that font, on the cover of these re-issues, is a one-off and is known in-house here at Hamish Hamilton as the ‘Salinger’.”

The obituary in the Guardian is by Mark Krupnick, who died in 2003. I wonder who wrote his obituary?

R.I.P. Jerome David Salinger, born 1 January 1919; died 27 January 2010



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