Remembering J.D. Salinger: Part 1by Justine Tal Goldberg • 01.30.2010
We lost one of the American literary greats this past week. Fringe celebrates J.D. Salinger’s ineffable legacy with posts from writers who have been affected by his work.
Fringe contributor Justine Tal Goldberg writes:
J.D. Salinger was my first love. He came to me in high school, between assigned readings of Shakespeare, Hemingway and Camus, and long before those other literary giants of college—Joyce, Faulkner and Yeats. These authors stole my heart, passing my affections between them like the college boys I dated, but Salinger stayed by my side. He was a good friend among acquaintances, a relationship among flings, and the voice of reason when my own characters threatened to lie.
As a teenager, I appreciated Salinger’s honesty, his self-deluded characters who through seamless narrative are revealed for the phonies they are. (Can you blame me? It was high school after all.) As a young woman, I was deeply moved by his faith in childhood, his authorial finger trained on the grown-ups, those poor folks utterly devoid of magic. Now, I’m sorry to say that I hadn’t thought about Salinger much until yesterday, of course, when I learned of his death and sat down to reflect upon his life.
Is it trite to say that I feel like I’ve lost a loved one, an ex with whom I’ve fallen out of touch but still care for in a familiar if forgotten way? Probably, but I’ve said it anyway in the spirit of truth and childish sentiments.