“I assure you that if I were a pianist or a movie actor or something like that, I would be upset that those idiots considered me wonderful. I would even be upset if they applauded me. People always applaud what they shouldn’t. If I were a pianist, I think I would play inside a closet“. Cult writer and one of the most mythologized authors of recent decades, JD Salinger wrote these prophetic words in The catcher in the ryeclassic of modern literature that since 1951 it has sold more than 70 million copies and has influenced successive generations of young readers.
Such was the success of the book and the rapid fame of its author, that Salinger retired from public life in 1965 and, after releasing three books of stories, he never published again. These are other works, nine storieswho turns 70 years old; Raise, carpenters, the roof beam and Seymour: an introduction, who turns 60; and Franny y Zooey, the writer’s most beloved; (all reprinted by Alianza these days) those that his son Matt Salinger, the author’s literary executor and zealous defender of the memory of his father, has come to Madrid to claim.
“I feel like readers are missing something very important if they stick with just that one novel. It is wonderful and has many layers, but there is much more Salinger to discover“, he shares with EL MUNDO. Regarding the rest of his published work, he states that these stories “are much deeper and should be read by anyone who really likes literature.” In this sense, he remembers that his father always wrote with in mind to a reader “lonely or misunderstood, feeling some unhappiness and unsure of the direction he should take”.
What it does not deny is that the success of the story of rebellious teenager Holden Caulfield changed his father’s life. “After publishing this novel, he never had to worry about money again. He was never rich, but he was able to dedicate himself simply to writing.. On one occasion, looking out at the mountains from the garden, with his studio in the background, he said to me: ‘Sometimes I find it hard to believe that thanks to little Holden we have all this.'”
However, this fame had a B side. “When fame finally came and I was on the covers of magazines, being invited to talks, awards, readings… He quickly realized that he didn’t like it at all, that it was intrusive, disturbing.a distraction from what I wanted, which was to write,” Salinger explains. “He never even understood why people wanted to meet him and know what he was like. What he wanted was for people to read him and you will enjoy his books, where his entire personality is invested. For him, this cult of the person was anathema.”