Are you between 5 and 25? If so, enter the Wicked Young Writer Awards NOW - click here for details...

likeyoulove make the most of Lovereading join us on facebook
Search our site
Last Letter from Istanbul by Lucy Foley Read the opening extract of the brand new Lucy Foley book before its publication on 19/03/2018

My Salinger Year by Joanna Smith Rakoff
  

Lovereading view...

At twenty-three, after leaving graduate school to pursue her dreams of becoming a poet, Joanna Rakoff moves to New York City and takes a job as assistant to the storied literary agent for J. D. Salinger. She spends her days in the plush, wood-panelled agency, where Dictaphones and typewriters still reign and old-time agents doze at their desks after martini lunches, and at night she goes home to the tiny, threadbare Brooklyn apartment she shares with her socialist boyfriend. Precariously balanced between glamour and poverty, surrounded by titanic personalities and struggling to trust her own artistic sense, Joanna is given the task of answering Salinger's voluminous fan mail. But as she reads the candid, heart-wrenching letters from his readers around the world, she finds herself unable to type out the agency's decades-old form response. Instead, drawn inexorably into the emotional world of Salinger's devotees, she abandons the template and begins writing back. Poignant, keenly observed and irresistibly funny, My Salinger Year is a memoir about literary New York in the late 1990s, a pre-digital world on the cusp of vanishing, where a young woman finds herself swept into one of the last great stories and entangled with one of the last great figures of the century. Above all, it is the coming-of-age story of a talented writer and a testament to the universal power of books to shape our lives.


The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. This delightful memoir takes us back to the New York of the ’90s – to the cross-over period between type-writers and computers, a world where young, hopeful authors are excited about their future, a world about to be transformed by the internet. But most of all, it is about the influence of author J D Salinger. Budding writer Joanna, fresh out of college, struggling with life, money and relationships, has just started working as an assistant to the literary agent who looks after Salinger. Thrilled to be working so closely to such an enigmatic and revered character, she immerses herself in her job, and the borderlines that she is not supposed to cross with him are smudged. As she answers Salinger’s fan mail she realises how huge an influence he has been not only on her life but on so many lives through the ages. Beautifully evocative of a bygone era, Rakoff brings Salinger and a world still naive and full of expectation, charmingly and wittily to life.
~ Caroline White

Synopsis

My Salinger Year by Joanna Smith Rakoff

At twenty-three, after leaving graduate school to pursue her dreams of becoming a poet, Joanna Rakoff moves to New York City and takes a job as assistant to the storied literary agent for J. D. Salinger. She spends her days in the plush, wood-panelled agency, where Dictaphones and typewriters still reign and old-time agents doze at their desks after martini lunches, and at night she goes home to the tiny, threadbare Brooklyn apartment she shares with her socialist boyfriend. Precariously balanced between glamour and poverty, surrounded by titanic personalities and struggling to trust her own artistic sense, Joanna is given the task of answering Salinger's voluminous fan mail. But as she reads the candid, heart-wrenching letters from his readers around the world, she finds herself unable to type out the agency's decades-old form response. Instead, drawn inexorably into the emotional world of Salinger's devotees, she abandons the template and begins writing back. Poignant, keenly observed and irresistibly funny, My Salinger Year is a memoir about literary New York in the late 1990s, a pre-digital world on the cusp of vanishing, where a young woman finds herself swept into one of the last great stories and entangled with one of the last great figures of the century. Above all, it is the coming-of-age story of a talented writer and a testament to the universal power of books to shape our lives.

Reviews

Here is the story of a reader becoming a writer, of a young woman deciding who she will be, of the power of books. Here is a memoir that manages to be dreamlike but sharp, poignant but unsentimental. Here is a book I'm going to have to insist you read immediately - Maggie Shipstead, author of Seating Arrangements

Joanna Rakoff is the literary world's Lena Dunham, both of them witty, sensitive, elegantly baffled, zeitgeist-hitting Brooklyn ladies of their respective half-generations - Sheila Weller, author of the New York Times bestseller, Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon-and the Journey of a Generation

This is an impossibly excellent read-a glowingly entertaining, miss-your-subway-stop engrossing, note-perfect piece of storytelling - Charles Bock, author of New York Times bestseller, Beautiful Children

An utterly beguiling memoir, not only about Salinger and a bygone era of publishing, but about relationships, finding one's voice, and surviving in the big city -- Caroline Sanderson Bookseller

About the Author

Joanna Rakoff is a poet and the author of the novel A Fortunate Age, which won the Goldberg Prize for Jewish Fiction by Emerging Writers, was a New York Times Editors' Pick, a winner of the Elle Readers' Prize and a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller. As a journalist and critic, she has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Vogue, Time Out and O:The Oprah Magazine. The BBC produced a radio documentary following her as she tracked down the writer of her favourite Salinger fan letter. She has degrees from Columbia University, University College London and Oberlin College. Joanna Rakoff lives in Boston. www.joannasmithrakoff.com

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading similar books...
Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

30th November 1999

Author

Joanna Smith Rakoff

More books by Joanna Smith Rakoff
Author 'Like for Like'
    recommendations

Author's Website

www.joannasmithrakoff.com

Publisher

Format

Hardback

Categories


ISBN

9781408830178

I love Lovereading because of its ability to connect people that love books & unite them in a friendly, stimulating & interesting community.

Megan Olwen William

You can trust Lovereading to show unbiased reviews by actual, ordinary readers that help likeminded booklovers choose their next great read.

Linda Hill

With literary excellence, humour and drama, Lovereading's got value and is a real stress-calmer!

Siobhan McDowell

Lovereading is an amazing place to be, the website is wonderful and to me if I'm sad I'll go here and it cheers me up!

Sophia Upton

Its jam packed with fantastic titles, informative descriptions & fantastic reviews and has a vast array of great features & competitions.

Linda Rollins

Ever purchased a book, read a few pages & thought I'm not going to enjoy this? Honest book reviews mean you'll never have that problem again

Jill Peters

Lovereading tells me about new books before they hit the shelves, lets me find other authors I may like and has great prize draws!

Sheila Dale

Lovereading is pitched at just the right level for all the various types of people who enjoy reading in its many forms.

Pam Woodburn

Lovereading4kids

Lovereading4schools