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V-2 into Space

Adam Mars-Jones: Michael Chabon, 2 March 2017

Moonglow 
by Michael Chabon.
HarperCollins, 448 pp., £18.99, January 2017, 978 0 00 754891 0
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... it that tang.’ The effect of such passages is eerily like Gravity’s Rainbow rewritten by J.D. Salinger, and Pynchon and Salinger both haunt Moonglow. The strange prominence in a novel of pretended self-revelation of the two postwar writers who most insisted on keeping their lives private doesn’t seem to be ...

Paliography

John Sutherland, 15 September 1988

The Secret Life of Wilkie Collins 
by William Clarke.
Allison and Busby, 239 pp., £14.95, August 1988, 0 85031 960 9
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Wilkie Collins: Women, Property and Propriety 
by Philip O’Neill.
Macmillan, 238 pp., £27.50, September 1988, 9780333421994
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... to preserve their secrets. They will fight impertinent biographers through the courts (like J.D. Salinger). They will (like T.S. Eliot or Jack London) set up vigilant estates to stand like pyramids over the author’s reputation and defy any tomb-robbing researcher. They will themselves incinerate mountains of correspondence (as did Dickens) or enjoin ...

Wounds

Stephen Fender, 23 June 1988

Hemingway 
by Kenneth Lynn.
Simon and Schuster, 702 pp., £16, September 1987, 0 671 65482 9
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The Faces of Hemingway: Intimate Portraits of Ernest Hemingway by those who knew him 
by Denis Brian.
Grafton, 356 pp., £14.95, May 1988, 0 246 13326 0
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... parents and killed them off in various fictional displacements. Mark Twain did it too. So did J.D. Salinger and Philip Roth. Popular American fiction is full of adolescent crises: of good-bad boys running away from home, escaping one form of captivity only to wind up in another as suitable cases for treatment. It is not only in Hemingway’s war fiction ...

Nicely! Nicely!

Jenny Turner, 13 May 1993

Operation Shylock 
by Philip Roth.
Cape, 398 pp., £14.99, March 1993, 0 224 03009 4
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... Thus, as often happens with US fiction (remember the rumours that Thomas Pynchon was really J.D. Salinger under another name?), attention is deflected away from the substantive matter of the novel, and onto various gee-whizz discussions of supposedly Post-Modernist authorial behaviour – the adult version of the Phew-It-Was-Only-A-Dream-Or-Was-It metaphysic ...

The Amazing …

Jonathan Lethem: My Spidey, 6 June 2002

Spider-Man 
directed by Sam Raimi.
May 2002
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... on the early Spider-Man as Kirby had on the bulk of the Marvel characters, but ‘the J.D. Salinger of comics’ has been no obstacle to Stan Lee’s attention-hogging claims of authorship in the thirty-five years since Ditko quit Marvel in a silent, Objectivist huff. So the icon sank into our brains. As with the Beatles, bonding could occur in ...

Goodbye Moon

Andrew O’Hagan: Me and the Moon, 25 February 2010

The Book of the Moon 
by Rick Stroud.
Doubleday, 368 pp., £16.99, May 2009, 978 0 385 61386 6
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Rocket Men: The Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon 
by Craig Nelson.
John Murray, 404 pp., £18.99, June 2009, 978 0 7195 6948 7
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Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon 
by Buzz Aldrin and Ken Abraham.
Bloomsbury, 336 pp., £16.99, July 2009, 978 1 4088 0402 5
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... call cosmic extremes. He went silent, became absent, allegedly working but never seen, the J.D. Salinger of the US space programme. The race for the Moon was fuelled by a terrifying combustion of scientific know-how and political paranoia. But the rocket engineers’ sense of how to articulate awe, how to inhabit teatime-news psychology, how to manipulate ...

Adipose Tumorous Growths and All

Kevin Kopelson, 18 May 2000

Franz Liszt. Vol. III: The Final Years, 1861-86 
by Alan Walker.
Faber, 594 pp., £45, February 1998, 0 571 19034 0
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The Romantic Generation 
by Charles Rosen.
HarperCollins, 720 pp., £14.99, March 1999, 0 00 255712 6
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Franz Liszt: Selected Letters 
edited by Adrian Williams.
Oxford, 1063 pp., £70, January 1999, 0 19 816688 5
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... musical issue. I also want to know how writers like Racine, Heine, Lorca and even J.D. Salinger could have renounced linguistic virtuosity. After writing Phèdre, the last of the secular plays, Racine renounced the alexandrine in order to become Louis XIV’s historiographer. Heine gave up writing lyric poetry in order to write journalism. Lorca ...

Diary

Kevin Kopelson: Confessions of a Plagiarist, 22 May 2008

... what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that all such confessions are deceptive. To quote J.D. Salinger (lines I’ve already included in more than one publication): A confessional passage has probably never been written that didn’t stink a little bit of the writer’s pride in having given up his pride. The thing to listen for, every time, with a ...

Comedy is murder

Thomas Powers: Joseph Heller, 8 March 2012

Just One Catch: The Passionate Life of Joseph Heller 
by Tracy Daugherty.
Robson, 548 pp., £25, September 2011, 978 1 84954 172 5
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Yossarian Slept Here: When Joseph Heller was Dad and Life was a Catch-22 
by Erica Heller.
Vintage, 272 pp., £8.99, October 2011, 978 0 09 957008 0
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... about one-book authors, a cautionary roster of the silent that included Margaret Mitchell, J.D. Salinger, Harper Lee and Ralph Ellison. Heller’s history reflected theirs – the dreams of youth and years of literary apprenticeship, a period of obsessed scribbling, enthusiasm from a publisher, a ripple of applause from the fraternity of reviewers, followed ...

Yuh wanna play bad?

Christopher Tayler: Henry Roth, 23 March 2006

Redemption: The Life of Henry Roth 
by Steven Kellman.
Norton, 372 pp., $16.99, September 2005, 0 393 05779 8
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Call It Sleep 
by Henry Roth.
Picador US, 462 pp., $15, July 2005, 0 312 42412 4
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... was considered one of the most resonant in modern American literature. Ralph Ellison and J.D. Salinger were his only competition. When Call It Sleep (1934), Roth’s first novel, became a bestseller, thirty years after it first appeared, reporters found him scraping a living in Maine, gloomily slaughtering ducks and geese with equipment he’d made ...

Weirdo Possible Genius Child

Daniel Soar: Max Porter, 23 May 2019

Lanny 
by Max Porter.
Faber, 213 pp., £12.99, March 2019, 978 0 571 34028 6
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... do you think is more patient, an idea or a hope?’: you can talk in koans – but so did J.D. Salinger, and look where he ended up. As a general rule, a book reviewer presented with a character declared to be brilliant but not shown to be, a character who loves everything and everyone without limit, a character who is in turn loved by everyone he ...

I adore your moustache

James Wolcott: Styron’s Letters, 24 January 2013

Selected Letters of William Styron 
edited by Rose Styron and R. Blakeslee Gilpin.
Random House, 643 pp., £24.99, December 2012, 978 1 4000 6806 7
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... Great White Males (Styron, Norman Mailer, James Jones, John Updike, Saul Bellow, Gore Vidal, J.D. Salinger, Joseph Heller, the recently retired Philip Roth), whose ghostly father and bearded Neptune disturbing the liquor cabinet deep into the night was Ernest Hemingway. Even those least influenced by Hemingway’s style couldn’t fail to register the impact ...

The Unstoppable Upward

James Wolcott: ‘The Life of Saul Bellow’, 24 January 2019

The Life of Saul Bellow: Love and Strife, 1965-2005 
by Zachary Leader.
Cape, 864 pp., £35, November 2018, 978 0 224 10188 2
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... Julian Moynihan announced in the New York Times, ‘Jewish writers – Bernard Malamud, J.D. Salinger, Norman Mailer, Philip Roth, inter alia – have emerged as a dominant movement in our literature. Herzog, in several senses, is the great pay-off book of that movement. It is a masterpiece, the first the movement has produced.’ Herzog not only had ...

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