Wednesday, 17 September 2014

must read: my salinger year

Imagine slipping through a portal during the late 1990s into a New York without computers where office assistants rely on typewriters and dictaphones to correspond with the world?  And so begins My Salinger Year.  When Joanna Rakoff landed a job at the literary agency representing JD Salinger, she didn't expect to find an organisation relying on formulas of the past to move them into the future.  She is charged with answering Salinger's swag of fan mail, adhering to his wishes that nothing is to be passed on to him.  Instead, Rakoff used a form letter (devised in the 1960s) until she could no longer bear it and started answering the letters herself.

I heard Rakoff interviewed on So you want to be a writer, the Australian Writers' Centre's weekly podcast and I'm delighted to report that she writes as well as she talks.  Rakoff's fast-paced prose takes us through this period of her life, makes us cringe when introduced to her dodgy boyfriend Don and excites us when thinking of living with the city of New York as our backyard.  I absolutely loved jumping headfirst into Rakoff's world and enjoyed the sheer escapism of a life I can't even begin to imagine.  Beg, borrow or…  come across a copy one way or another, this is a must read for 2014!

PS I won a copy of this book through the AWC but I was in no way obliged to write about it - believe me, it wouldn't even have made it on to the blog if I didn't enjoy it, let alone the high praise it garnered to make it on my must read list!