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The "brilliant, funny, meaningful novel" (The New Yorker) that established J. D. Salinger as a leading voice in American literature--and that has instilled in millions of readers around the world a lifelong love of books. "If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth." The hero-narrator of The Catcher in the Rye is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caufield. Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days.
This volume argues that, with the death of Salinger, we are at a threshold moment in our long obsession with Holden and its eccentric author, a chance to re-approach The Catcher in the Rye. We can approach the book now as readers. As it turns out, there is more to Holden Caulfield than, well, Holden. And there is more to Catcher in the Rye than Sonny Salinger. Liberated from the need to identify with (or the zeal to condemn) Holden Caulfield, liberated from the dark charisma of its troubled hermit-author, we can at last confront a novel whose argument, as it turns out, we have only begun to measure. This volume gathers essays?now-classic investigations into the novel as well as new perspectives?that collectively offer the opportunity to begin such a re-introduction. There are, of course, essays that detail the emotional impact of first hearing Holden's voice. In these poignant essays, readers set aside the pedagogical imperative and attempt to understand the human ties they felt with Holden. These essayists remind readers today that once upon a time novels, and the characters in them, had the deeply personal impact that are now routinely associated with films, music, and television. However beyond such intimacy, the private identification with a book and a charismatic main character, Catcher speaks to a much broader community. -- Publisher's website.
It's Christmas time and Holden Caulfield has just been expelled from yet another school. Fleeing the crooks at Pencey Prep, he pinballs around New York City seeking solace in fleeting encounters - shooting the bull with strangers in dive hotels, wandering alone round Central Park, getting beaten up by pimps and cut down by erstwhile girlfriends. The city is beautiful and terrible, in all its neon loneliness and seedy glamour, its mingled sense of possibility and emptiness. Holden passes through it like a ghost, thinking always of his kid sister Phoebe, the only person who really understands him, and his determination to escape the phonies and find a life of true meaning. The Catcher in the Rye is an all-time classic in coming-of-age literature- an elegy to teenage alienation, capturing the deeply human need for connection and the bewildering sense of loss as we leave childhood behind.