Studying Salinger


The argument for JD Saliger’s writing.

This leaves one wondering: just when was Salinger great? Presumably, only in Catcher; the rest is just a means of cheering himself up. With his typical portentous certitude, Shields concludes the book: “He came to revile the world, so he disappeared into Vedanta. The pain was severe and profound, and he couldn’t fully face it or alleviate it. Desperate for cures, he destroyed himself: withdrawal, silence, inward collapse. The wounds undid him, and he went under.” If only Salinger had been more balanced and sane in his life and art, is the incessant moralizing undertow; so eager are Shields and Salerno to correct their wayward subject that the latter praises “Franny” for having “the balance about right: 80 percent story and character, 20 percent religion and lecture.”

Lyz's writing has been published in the New York Times Motherlode, Jezebel, Aeon, Pacific Standard, and others. Her book on midwestern churches is forthcoming from Indiana University Press. She has her MFA from Lesley and skulks about on Twitter @lyzl. Lyz is a member of The Rumpus Advisory Board and a full-time staff writer for the Columbia Journalism Review. More from this author →