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Download J. D. Salinger: A Life Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample J. D. Salinger: A Life, by Kenneth Slawenski Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (460 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Kenneth Slawenski Narrator: Norman Dietz Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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One of the most popular and mysterious figures in American literary history, J. D. Salinger eluded fans and journalists for most of his life. Filled with new information and revelations garnered from countless interviews, letters, and public records, J. D. Salinger: A Life presents an extraordinary life that spanned nearly the entire twentieth century.

Kenneth Slawenski explores Salinger’s privileged youth, long obscured by misrepresentation and rumor, revealing the brilliant, sarcastic, vulnerable son of a disapproving father and doting mother and his entrance into a social world where Gloria Vanderbilt dismissively referred to him as, “a Jewish boy from New York.” Here too are accounts of Salinger’s first broken heart—Eugene O’Neill’s daughter Oona left him for the much older Charlie Chaplin—and the devastating World War II service of which he never spoke and which haunted him forever.

J. D. Salinger features all the dazzle of this author’s early writing successes, his dramatic encounters with luminaries from Ernest Hemingway to Laurence Olivier to Elia Kazan, his surprising office intrigues with famous New Yorker editors and writers, and the stunning triumph of The Catcher in the Rye, which would both make him world-famous and hasten his retreat into the hills of New Hampshire.

Whether it’s revealing the facts of his hasty, short-lived first marriage or his lifelong commitment to Eastern religion—which would dictate his attitudes toward sex, nutrition, solitude, and creativity—J. D. Salinger is this unique author’s unforgettable story in full—one that no lover of literature can afford to miss.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “An invaluable work that sheds fascinating light on the willfully elusive author.”

    Publishers Weekly

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Leslie Angel | 2/19/2014

    " I liked this, obviously a sympathetic portrayal; I especially liked the description of his war experience. I'd read about the battles in fiction before, felt like visiting a known place, but more grim and brutal. I remember college days and "Seymour charts." "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Holli Arnold | 2/8/2014

    " bogged down in the minute details "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Christina | 1/30/2014

    " I've never read a bio of Salinger & lord knows they must be difficult to write. Salinger is notorious for shunning any type of publicity or really any contact with the public for the last 40 or so years of his life. This bio is certainly exhaustive in how it looks into his work, describing & examining each of his published pieces very closely. It is perhaps a bit too deferential in its dealings with his personal life. While I do know a great deal more about him than I did before (for instance, I knew nothing whatsoever about his WWII service & it is extensive & impressive), it does gloss over some things that might have borne closer examination. His relationship with Joyce Maynard & her subsequent memoir are given all of 3/4 of one page of text. This had the unintended effect of making me think I ought to read her memoir, since their relationship isn't really covered here. This deference is the main sticking point with this bio, that & the lack of information available to anyone about Salinger (he destroyed or ordered destroyed many of his letters & no one close to him, including any of his three wives, has ever spoken publicly about him much), which made it difficult for the author. For hardcore Salinger fans only, I think (I still have my heavily highlighted copy of Raise High the Roofbeams, Carpenter and Seymour–An Introduction from high school). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Katherine Clare | 1/18/2014

    " For all the obsessed Salinger fans out there, I would strongly recommend reading this biography and character analysis. Although I did not agree with the Author on some of his reasoning of Salinger's intent behind published works, I found it compelling nonetheless. "

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About the Author

Kenneth Slawenski is the creator of DeadCaulfields.com, a website founded in 2004 and recommended by the New York Times. He spent eight years working on his biography of J. D. Salinger. Slawenski was born in New Jersey and has lived there his entire life.