Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Reappraisal of an author

Book review: My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff

Electronic proof from UK publication date 5th June 2014.

A few years ago I read A Catcher in the Rye for the first time and didn't like it.  I'd not read it as a teenager or young adult and I think I came to it too late to "get it."

My Salinger Year is the memoir of Rakoff as she works for the New York literary agency that represented Salinger and is a fascinating insight into the behind the scenes work of some areas of publishing just before the Internet changed everything.

The book in part charts Rakoff's life as she adjusts to the working world after leaving university, as well as talking about her job and the intricacies of working for a reclusive genius such as Salinger.  Interestingly as she started the job Rakoff had not read Salinger and it was about 9 months into the year before she did try him - although being closer in age to a teenager than I was she did love the books.

Nothing overly dramatic happens to Rakoff in the book, and it is again a nice gentle book set in New York but like a lot of quiet things it is very good.  The book is just a rounded memoir for an interesting year in the author's life but it is compelling and again vividly and evocatively written - I was walking with her around New York and could 'see' all she was writing about clearly.

Interestingly this is the second book I've read recently that has recommended Salinger's Franny and Zooey and so I think that I might have to give this a go very soon.

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