Henry Anatole Grunwald
Harper, Jan 2010, $14.99
This is a reprint of an intriguing 1962 series of twelve round table essays exploring J. D. Salinger's life and contribution trying to determine whether the recluse was in the title of one topic a “Magician, Clubman or Guru”. Many boomers read this compilation while attending college English Literature class drawing conclusions re Salinger’s place in American literature history while appreciating his profound look at teen angst. Ironically, the editor Henry Anatole Grunwald died in 2005 while the reclusive nonagenarian author remains alive. Fascinating as Mr. Salinger has not published anything in over four decades and not interviewed in three, the entries feel somewhat dated yet well written and insightful nonetheless. Especially enlightening are the articles associated with “The Invisible Man” and “Holden and Huck: A Quest”. However, unlike Mark Twain, The Catcher in the Rye published in 1951 is Mr. Salinger’s only novel (although there were several well regarded short stories especially in the New Yorker magazine). Like the ducks in Central Park, Salinger continues to swim in a unique psyche of American literature pond with perhaps only Harper Lee somewhat nearby.