American author JD Salinger died on January 27, 2010 at age 91. The author was best known for his novel, The Catcher in the Rye. The famously reclusive author died in his home in Cornish, New Hampshire.
Interestingly, it is very difficult to locate audio versions of Salinger’s work. The audio cassettes on Amazon are offered for around $10,000 USD. Yikes!
The other offerings are from questionable sources. I wonder if audiobooks of The Catcher in the Rye will become more readily available with the renewed interest in his work.
I know quite a few people who cite The Catcher in the Rye as their favorite book. Published in 1951, it has sold over 65 million copies. It was included in Time Magazine’s list of the 100 best English-language novels. It is referenced repeatedly in pop culture and has influenced works that range from books to films to music.
If you haven’t read The Catcher in the Rye, you probably should. While it is not one my favorite novels, I enjoy discussing it with others. With Salinger’s death, the topic has come up more often in conversation.
The book’s protagonist is Holden Caulfield and the story is a first person narrative of the events following his expulsion from a prep school in Pennsylvania. He spends 3 days drunk and lonely in New York City. Readers begin to understand more about him and his family as he shares his life, his dreams, and his plans.
As the novel is told solely from Caulfield’s point of view, readers have long held debates about the reliability of the narrative and what deeper meanings can be assigned to the events. The book has been the subject of both praise and criticism. Salinger, always reclusive, declined to comment on his work, leaving fans and critics to draw their own conclusions.
The Catcher in the Rye was also plagued by controversy. The vulgar language, including sexual references and blasphemy, as well as the protagonist’s penchant for rebellion caused the book to be frequently challenged and banned from many schools.
My opinion? I didn’t love The Catcher in the Rye. I personally found Holden Caulfield to be unappealing as a protagonist. But… I also appreciate the creativity and spirit of the work. And I am glad that I read it.
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