Perfectly Reasonable

The headline of the obituary in the New York Times labelled Salinger a “literary recluse”, which is true enough (though the same paper recently reported that he was a perfectly charming fixture around town, “who arrived early to church suppers, nodded hello while buying a newspaper at the general store and wrote a thank-you note to the fire department after it extinguished a blaze and helped save his papers and writings”). Yet many of his wishes were perfectly reasonable. It is normal not to want journalists appearing on your doorstep, or family members or ex-lovers to publish memoirs about you. However unlikely it is that he ever achieved peace or normalcy, he had every right to seek both.

Bradley Freedman