J.D. Salinger, Reclusive Author, Rabbi's Grandson, Is Dead at 91

J.D. Salinger, a grandson of a rabbi and an author whose fiction has held the deep affection of generations of readers, died January 27 at age 91. So extreme was the reclusion of the author, who wrote such books as “The Catcher in the Rye” and “Franny and Zooey,” that there will be no funeral service, at the writer’s request. Salinger had not published a word since 1965.

The New York Times has an engaging obituary, which includes details about his Jewish roots and their parallel with his most famous fictional creation, the Glass family:

Salinger grew up on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, which is heavily Jewish.

His death frees him from the invasions of privacy that seem to have been the true bane of his existence. As recently as last year he had to take a Swedish author to court for trying to publish a sequel to “Catcher in the Rye.” But his passing also poses an obvious question: Are there dozens of novels sitting locked up at his 90-acre New Hampshire estate? A whole world of Glass family stories waiting to be published, perhaps?

It’s impossible at this point to know. But there is something tantalizing about this quote, from a 1974 interview with Salinger: “There is a marvelous peace in not publishing. It’s peaceful. Still. Publishing is a terrible invasion of my privacy. I like to write. I love to write. But I write just for myself and my own pleasure.”

Share This Blog

Share This Blog

Close