Kenneth Slawenski, author of J.D. Salinger: A Life and creator of the Salinger website Dead Caulfields, will speak and sign copies of his book on Tuesday, January 10 at 7 p.m. at Princeton Public Library. His appearance in the library’s Community Room will largely be a question and answer session, and attendees will be welcome to share their insights.
Mr. Slawennski will also be speaking to Princeton High School students in the PHS Performing Arts Center earlier that same day, January 10 at 1:30 p.m.
The Princeton event will mark the official launch of the paperback edition of J.D. Salinger: A Life, which appeared in hardcover a year after Salinger’s death on January 27, 2010, at the age of 91. Mr. Slawenski’s biography of the reclusive author of The Catcher in the Rye was a Book of the Month Club selection. The English edition was reviewed by Peter Ackroyd, who found the book “well-written, energetic and magnificently researched.” A review in The Spectator pointed out the “love and zest” with which Mr. Slawenski “sets about his task.”
In citing the biography’s focus on the impact of Salinger’s combat experience in World War II, the Town Topics review (Jan. 26 2011) quoted a passage describing Salinger’s state of mind on completing The Catcher in the Rye in the autumn of 1950:
“Holden Caulfield, and the pages that contained him, had been the author’s constant companion for most of his adult years. Those pages were so precious to Salinger that he carried them on his person throughout the war. In 1944 he confessed … that he needed them with him for support and inspiration. Pages of The Catcher in the Rye had stormed the beach at Normandy; they had paraded down the streets of Paris, been present at the deaths of countless solders in countless places, and been carried through the death camps of Nazi Germany.”
Mr. Slawenski’s website deadcaulfields.com currently features birthday celebrations of The Catcher in the Rye’s 60th and Franny and Zooey’s 50th. The site offers everything from a timeline and photos, to a comprehensive inventory of Salinger’s unpublished fiction.
All Princeton Public Library programs are free and open to the public. If programs require registration, preference is given to library cardholders. The physically challenged should contact the library at (609) 924-9529 48 hoursbefore any program with questions about special accommodations.
The library is in the Sands Library Building at 65 Witherspoon St. in Princeton Borough. Parking is available on neighboring streets and in the borough-operated Spring Street Garage, which is adjacent to the library. For more information about library programs and services, call (609) 924-9529 or visit www.princetonlibrary.org