My Salinger Year
DescriptionKeenly observed and irresistibly funny, My Salinger Year is a memoir about literary New York in the late nineties, a pre-digital world on the cusp of vanishing. After leaving graduate school to pursue her dream of becoming a poet, Joanna Rakoff takes a job as assistant to the storied literary agent for J. D. Salinger. Precariously balanced between poverty and glamour, she spends her days in a plush, wood-paneled office--where Dictaphones and typewriters still reign and agents doze after three-martini lunches--and then goes home to her threadbare Brooklyn apartment and her socialist boyfriend. Rakoff is tasked with processing Salinger's voluminous fan mail, but as she reads the heart-wrenching letters from around the world, she becomes reluctant to send the agency's form response and impulsively begins writing back. The results are both humorous and moving, as Rakoff, while acting as the great writer's voice, begins to discover her own.
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About the AuthorJoanna Rakoff's novel A Fortunate Age won the Goldberg Prize for Jewish Fiction by Emerging Writers and the Elle Readers' Prize, and was a New York Times Editors' Choice and a San Francisco Chronicle best seller. She has written for The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Vogue, and other publications. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
"A beautifully written tribute to the way things were at the edge of the digital revolution, and to the evergreen power of literature." --Chicago Tribune
"An affecting coming-of-age memoir. . . . Rakoff wisely--and deftly--weaves her Salinger story into a broader, more universal tale about finding one's bearings during a pivotal transitional year into real adulthood." --The Washington Post
"Charming. . . . Glamorous. . . . Rakoff does a marvelous job of capturing a cultural moment. . . . What is most admirable is [her] critical intelligence and generosity of spirit." --The Boston Globe
"The loneliness of life after college [is] perfectly explained . . . There's something Salingeresque about her book: it's a vivid story of innocence lost." --Entertainment Weekly
"My Salinger Year describes its author's trip down a metaphorical rabbit hole back in 1996. She arrived not in Wonderland, but a place something like it, a New York City firm she calls only the Agency. . . . An outright tribute to the enduring power of J.D. Salinger's work." --Salon