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Short Synopsis
Author Kenneth Slawenski reveals the story of the life of J. D. Salinger, one of the most popular and mysterious figures in American literary history.

Full Synopsis
One of the most popular and mysterious figures in American literary history, J. D. Salinger eluded fans and journalists for most of his life. Now comes a new biography that Peter Ackroyd in the Times of London calls "energetic and magnificently researched"—a book from which "a true picture of Salinger emerges." Filled with new information and revelations garnered from countless interviews, letters, and public records, J. D. Salinger: A Life presents an extraordinary life that spanned nearly the entire twentieth century.

Kenneth Slawenski explores Salinger's privileged youth, long obscured by misrepresentation and rumor, revealing the brilliant, sarcastic, vulnerable son of a disapproving father and doting mother and his entrance into a social world where Gloria Vanderbilt dismissively referred to him as "a Jewish boy from New York." Here too are accounts of Salinger's first broken heart—Eugene O'Neill's daughter, Oona, left him for the much older Charlie Chaplin—and the devastating World War II service of which he never spoke, and which haunted him forever.

J. D. Salinger features all the dazzle of this author's early writing successes, his dramatic encounters with luminaries from Ernest Hemingway to Laurence Olivier to Elia Kazan, his surprising office intrigues with famous New Yorker editors and writers, and the stunning triumph of The Catcher in the Rye, which would both make him world-famous and hasten his retreat into the hills of New Hampshire.

Whether it's revealing the facts of his hasty, short-lived first marriage or his lifelong commitment to Eastern religion, which would dictate his attitudes toward sex, nutrition, solitude, and creativity, J. D. Salinger is this unique author's unforgettable story in full—one that no lover of literature can afford to miss.

"Dietz, who has been named one of the Best Voices of the Century, offers a pleasurable listening experience. Academics and literary readers will appreciate the work." ---Library Journal Starred Audio Review

"[Norman Dietz's] steady, deliberate pace suits the way Slawenski blends occasionally dry facts with anecdotal scenes featuring the man who gave the world Catcher In the Rye." ---AudioFile

"The biography is meticulously comprehensive yet compelling throughout, and Norman Dietz's reading voice proves perfect. His tone is warm and soothing, as if he is a grandfather sharing stories about his late best friend whom he adored and hopes the world will, too." ---Publishers Weekly Audio Review

"Slawenski's life of Salinger makes at least speculative sense of a seemingly unknowable story, one that has beguiled readers for more than 50 years. That alone makes his book must reading." ---Booklist Starred Review

"An invaluable work that sheds fascinating light on the willfully elusive author." ---Publishers Weekly Starred Review

"[Slawenski's] close study of Salinger's roots admirably redirects attention to his writing and thought instead of his self-imposed exile." ---Kirkus Starred Review

"A welcome picture of one of the most singular characters in American letters." ---The Washington Post
Library Journal Audio

New York Times Bestseller

Booklist Review

Publishers Weekly Review

Kirkus Review

J. D. Salinger

A Life

Author Kenneth Slawenski

Narrated by Norman Dietz

Publication date Mar 31, 2011

Running time 19 hrs

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