Thursday, January 1, 2009

If you really want to hear about it

Today is JD Salinger's 90th birthday.

Happy new year, sir, wherever you are.

From Eudora Welty's review of Nine Stories, published in April, 1953, in The New York Times:

They all pertain to the lack of something in the world, and it might be said that what Mr. Salinger has written about so far is the absence of love. Owing to that absence comes the spoilation of innocence, or else the triumph in death of innocence over the outrage and corruption that lie in wait for it.

The feeling may arise from these warm, uneven stories (no writer worth his salt is even, or can be) that Mr. Salinger has never, here, directly touched upon what he has the most to say about: love. Love averts itself in pity, laughter, or a gesture or vision of finality possibly too easy or simple in stories that are neither easy nor simple in any degree.

Mr. Salinger is a very serious artist, and it is likely that what he has to say will find many forms as time goes by – interesting forms, too. His novel, "The Catcher in the Rye," was good and extremely moving, althoughfor this readerall its virtues can be had in a short story by the same author, where they are somehow more at home.

What this reader loves about Mr. Salinger's stories is that they honor what is unique and precious in each person on earth. Their author has the courageit is more like the earned right and privilegeto experiment at the risk of not being understood. Best of all, he has a loving heart.

More here.

Today is also the birthday of bass virtuoso Jaco Pastorius.
Portrait of Tracy (mp3) seems like a nice quiet song for New Year's morning…happy 2009.

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