Thursday, January 28, 2010

And Now We're Alone.

J.D. Salinger died today, as you've certainly heard. On NPR they were asking people what they remembered most about Catcher in the Rye, and the answer was mostly about the voice. They asked about his other writing and what was best remembered was thematic: childhood giving way to mental illness and doom.

I read Catcher in the Rye first, like you do, and went on to read everything Salinger wrote, unless of course the mystical pile of unpublished manuscripts exists. More than voice, I remember the feeling of Catcher in the Rye, the unstoppable emptying out of magic that is the end of childhood. The vague, dull amnesiac horror of approaching adulthood. If nothing else, I knew forever that someone understood.

I'll never read Catcher in the Rye again. Because I don't want that feeling to change. I'm still out there on that cliff, too, and I'm not coming inside. Not even when it gets dark.

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