Searching For J.D. Salinger In A New Biography

Sep 3, 2013

J.D. Salinger is the subject of a new documentary and book by David Shields and Shane Salerno
Credit Wikimedia Commons

If you seek parallels between J.D. Salinger and Thomas Pynchon they're easy to find. Both were literary geniuses. Both were publicity-shunning recluses. Both men were psychosexually arrested by God knows what primal wound.

Salinger seemed able to bond only with very young women and girls. Pynchon had a pattern -- somehow linked to inability to form normal alliances --  of hijacking the wives and partners of his friends.

 But there are differences. Pynchon seems to have turned a series of corners. He lives a more normal life, with a normal acquired wife, in a less reclusive state than Salinger ever attained.  The biggest difference is a sense of humor. Catcher in the Rye is a very funny book, but Salinger eventually stopped finding life amusing. Pynchon sent Irwin Corey, a comedian,  to pick up his National book Award ... as Thomas Pynchon.