One-Minute Book Reviews

January 12, 2010

J.D. Salinger’s ‘Tin Ear’ in ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ — Quote of the Day / Jonathan Yardley of the Washington Post

Filed under: Classics,Quotes of the Day — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 12:28 pm
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Jonathan Yardley‘s late “Second Reading” column for the Washington Post included a scathing and widely read assault on The Catcher in the Rye, “Salinger’s Holden Caulfield, Aging Gracelessly.” Here’s an excerpt from the review, which you can read here:

“The Catcher in the Rye is now, you’ll be told just about anywhere you ask, an ‘American classic,’ right up there with the book that was published the following year, Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. They are two of the most durable and beloved books in American literature and, by any reasonable critical standard, two of the worst. Rereading The Catcher in the Rye after all those years was almost literally a painful experience: The combination of Salinger’s execrable prose and Caulfield’s jejune narcissism produced effects comparable to mainlining castor oil. …

“The cheap sentimentality with which the novel is suffused reaches a climax of sorts when Holden’s literary side comes to the fore. He flunks all his courses except English. ‘I’m quite illiterate,’ he says early in the book, ‘but I read a lot,’ which establishes the mixture of self-deprecation and self-congratulation that seems to appeal to so many readers. …

“Salinger has a tin ear. His characters forever say ‘ya’ for ‘you,’ as in ‘ya know,’ which no American except perhaps a slapstick comedian ever has said. Americans say ‘yuh know’ or ‘y’know,’ but never ‘ya know.'”

You can also follow Jan Harayda (@janiceharayda) on Twitter at She satirizes American literary culture, such as it is, at

August 9, 2009

Salinger Fan J.D. California Lacks the ‘Necessary Shift in Mindset’ in His Response to Holden Caulfield and ‘The Catcher in the Rye,’ Critic Says

Filed under: News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 9:29 pm
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How much are we missing now that a federal judge has ruled that a Swedish writer can’t publish in the U.S. his novel that imagines a 76-year-old Holden Caulfield — “Mr. C” in the book — in a nursing home? Not much, if we are to believe a review of 60 Years Later by the critic Christian House in the British weekly the SpectatorHouse says that Fredrik Colting, who uses the pen name J.D. California, is “occasionally perceptive” but “lacks the necessary shift in mindset to create any real interest” in his response to The Catcher in the Rye. Colting is appealing the American ruling, and his book has been legally published in Britain, where is selling copies online. Given the attention Colting’s first novel has received in the U.S., 60 Years Later has generated surprisingly little interest on the U.K. Amazon site: The book appeared in early May, and at this writing, only four reader-reviewers have posted reviews.

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