and yet another entry written in English…
Recently, I’ve been reading the ‘legendary’ Out-of-Print Publications of J.D. Salinger which includes (as far as I know) his 22 stories only appeared in magazines but never transferred to a book because of Salinger’s prohibition. If you have, like me, suffered for years for just the probability of finally reading Hapworth 16, 1924 but at the end got bored and pissed of all the (non-)developments, then you can guess the degree of my joy when I acquired this set of stories. The collection begins with the 1940 dated The Young Folks and ends with the Salinger’s final published item, Hapworth 16, 1924. For further reference, I’m including the publication details of all the Salingers:
Boston: Little, Brown, 1951, 277 pages
Boston: Little, Brown, 1953, 302 pages
Boston: Little, Brown, 1961, 201 pages
Boston: Little, Brown, 1963, 248 pages
The New Yorker, June 19, 1965, pages 32-113
I remember myself (must be around 1993/94, being a lycee student) aimlessly scanning the New Yorker magazines in the USA Embassy’s Library archives in the hope of stumbling a rare Salinger story. Have I told that I love internet? 8)
Anyway, as I’ve said earlier, nowadays I’m into these stories. Last year I’ve re-read Franny and Zooey and I will re-read Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction before tuckling with Hapworth 16, 1924. When Edip Cansever’s poem collection were published by Yapı Kredi, they had included even the poems that Cansever didn’t consider to select. He had purposely omitted these poems, which mostly were earlier ones, because he did not find them as impressive as the latter ones. This, I can understand and blame the Yapı Kredi for conducting such an ill-intended collection. But I guess Salinger’s version of prohibition is a completely another type. In Edip Cansever’s version, he rejects the works because he finds that they lack something the others don’t. Salinger prohibits the republishing not because -I think- he thinks those stories are inferior or anything but because the potential readers don’t deserve them, or more likely he just detests more fuss that will be unavoidable. After all, we live in a world with the Harper Lee example in it.
There’s this thing with me and the literature I had read in past times. In the case of novels, I usually remember the plot with or without its ending and one or more characters and their names after 5-6 years. If it is one of those smash-in-the-face for me as in the case of Michel Butor’s La Modification or Sartre’s L’aige de la raison then things are a little bit exceptional and in these rare cases I sort of remember approx. 70% of all the teeny-meeny details. But this isn’t the case with the stories. However good a story is, given 2 years, I tend to forget everything. This defunction may be considered an adventegous one because you never happen to have, like, running out of Salingers. Of course I never forget the end of the A Perfect Day for Banana Fish, after all, I’m something little more than a 3-second memorizer fish – I hope you understood what I’m trying to say.
Back to the Out-of-Print Publications, the first few ones heavily resemble to O. Henry stories with the punch lines they deliver at the end. You’ve got the introduction, the development and the finishing with all the ties knot and with a punch line delivered at you. But, as the years goes by, meaning if you start reading backwards, you find yourself with the familiar seas where everything is naive and the narrator pokes his head once in a while out of the story and reminds you who he is actually and what are the possible outcomes going to be…
One additional reason for Salinger to keep this stories from publishing may be that, they (the latter ones) tend to contain a very high level of sorrow and grief. In more than one story, some specific letters are never answered back, the characters tell that they will keep in touch or at least call tomorrow but never do that and then wham! their correspondents came up dead or unreachable.
Among the stories, I can easily say that The Inverted Forest was one of the best Salingers I’ve read. Also A Girl I Knew and the Blue Melody are good enough to stop the world in its tracks even if for a minute or two. The O. Henry type punch lines are still there, the plot makes you rush for the end where you know something heartbreaking will be waiting for you but the indifference of the narrator keeps you from exchanging the humane feeling with the eye-watering melodrama – this is a quality I have encountered while reading the stories Raymond Carver and another New Yorker-er, Haruki Murakami (especially his A Perfect Day for Kangooro and Tony Takitani stories). Although it is kind of natural for Murakami to arouse similar feelings since he is known to be into Salinger with the translations and such.
So, enough for today. To summarize, it is really good meeting a favourite author of yours with works you had known but could not reach. And I thank to internet and one Miss Grace Dela Pena for some reasons. By the way, I will not reply nor approve nor supply any of requests to mail/send these stories but if you want them so bad, I suggest you to go fishing for a nice little song called “Slow Train to Jacksonville” which resides in the Blue Melody. Look over the Hungarian skies, where the grass is green and the web is free, so to say! 😉
-over and out-
P.S.: …but the most important aspect of Salinger’s is, I think, whenever I finish another of his stories, I feel like I’m breathing the same air with my honorary blood brother Doğan wherever he is. 8) After all, what is it to have an honorary blood brother if you can’t share the Salinger stories?..