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Berlin, Frankfurt, Paris, Chapel Hill, Boston, Istanbul, Calgary, Washington DC, Austin, Tunis, Warszawa and counting

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Nine Stories

Few will not know J.D. Salinger and his best-selling teenage-angst novel The Catcher in the Ray, his recent death - prompting a massive influx of stories on his reclusive lifestyle, the fact that he simply disappeared as a public figure after having published one of the American novels (Huckleberry Finn, maybe The Great Gatsby, definitely Absalom, Absalom...well, as far as I am concerned anyway) - has assuredly reminded everyone of him. I had, by coincidence, bought his collection of (long) short stories, Nine Stories, a few months before his death and finally got around to reading it some days ago.

I find extremely difficult, if not impossible, to criticize a collection of short stories which are little tied to each other in terms of content even in their date of publication (and maybe when they were written?). Thus, I shall not even try. Let it suffice to say that Nine Stories confirms Salinger's presence as a truly great writer. His stories, devoid of morale, rhyme, or reason on the surface, are full of wonder, posing question after question without offering many answers (which is the not the task of a writer anyway as far as I am concerned), for the attentive reader willing to immerse himself into their tightly-knit web of metaphor and hidden meaning. As selfish as it may be, I hope whoever inherited his papers will go ahead and publish some of what he kept hidden during his lifetime.

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