Thursday, October 3, 2013

The worst sentences in Salinger so far

From David Shields and Shane Salerno’s Salinger, “the official book of the acclaimed documentary film.” These sentences, from Salerno, appear on page 244:

This narrative — Salinger’s only novel — is told in the first-person voice of Holden Caulfield. That voice is Salinger, direct and unfiltered by the artifice of third-person camouflage. It’s his life, his thoughts, his feelings, his rage, his big beautiful middle finger to the phonies of the world.

Ten years of agony to get it all down on paper.
Oh, the drama. This passage sounds to me like very bad student writing. And its misunderstanding of the ways in which fiction works — no matter what Salinger said about “being” Holden Caulfield — suggests a failure of imagination. Salinger knows more than his character, just as Twain knows more than Huck Finn, Joyce more than Stephen Dedalus. It’s called irony.

Related reading
The worst sentence in Salinger so far
All J. D. Salinger posts (Pinboard)

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