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Critical companion to J.D. Salinger : a literary reference to his life and work /

Main Author: Mueller, Bruce F. 1950-
Other Authors: Hochman, Will.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: New York : Facts On File, 2011
Series: Facts on File library of American literature.
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Review by Choice Review

This is the first reference work on J. D. Salinger since the author's death in January 2010. That alone makes it noteworthy. The bulk of this volume by Mueller (independent scholar) and Hochman (Southern Connecticut State Univ.) is given over to description and analysis of all of Salinger's work: four books and some three dozen uncollected stories. This is preceded by a short, readable biography, and followed by a short chapter titled "Related People, Places, and Topics.. The four appendixes are "A Salinger Chronology," "Bibliography of Salinger's Published Works," "Year-by-Year Time Line ...," and "Bibliography of Secondary Sources.. The entries in the main section, "Works A-Z," range from a short paragraph on "lost" works to 58 pages on The Catcher in the Rye. Each of the published works is treated with a synopsis, critical analysis, publication history, descriptions of characters, and further reading suggestions. The section on related people includes persons in Salinger's personal and professional life, as well as writers he admired. While this work can be recommended as a useful resource on Salinger's life and work, it is not without faults. Chief among these is an inordinate amount of repetition and redundancy. Readers are given the publication date of one story no fewer than six times, and whole paragraphs are repeated almost verbatim in the biography and chronology sections. Some synopses actually are longer than the texts they summarize. Finally, the descriptions of characters that appear in more than one story are also redundant. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-level undergraduates; general readers. M. M. Bohn formerly, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review

This entry in the publisher's Critical Companion series focuses on the late, elusive J. D. Salinger. Like other titles in the series, it is divided into three main parts: Biography; Works A-Z ; and Related People, Places, and Topics. A fourth section contains the appendixes. Since Salinger essentially disappeared from public view in 1965 and zealously guarded his privacy, much of the biography deals with legal battles and rumors, including speculation about the existence of unpublished manuscripts. Works A-Z has entries for all his published fiction along with many nonfiction pieces and unpublished stories. Not surprisingly, the longest entry nearly 50 pages is for The Catcher in the Rye. The entry has an introduction, an overview, a chapter-by-chapter synopsis, a long critical analysis, and a publication history. Following this are entries for each character, from Holden Caulfield himself to Harvard guy and Waiter, cheap restaurant. There is also an extensive bibliography. Part 3, Related People, Places, and Topics, has entries for topics such as Central Park, the New Yorker, and Zen. Among the appendixes are a chronology, a bibliography of Salinger's published works, and a bibliography of secondary sources. Because of the enduring interest in Salinger's work, both in and outside the classroom, this title would be a good addition to academic and large public libraries. Also available as an e-book.--Quinn, Mary Ellen Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.