My Salinger Year Hardcover – 5 Jun 2014
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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)
A warm, witty, occasionally sly piece of storytelling ... An affectionate love letter to a first job in an industry that in just 20 years has changed beyond recognition (Sam Baker Harper's Bazaar )
My Salinger Year's reference points, from the Brooklyn brownstones to the Danish pastries wolfed on the number 6 train to 51st Street, are all American, but the emotional landscape it conjures up will be just as true for readers on this side of the pond. Anyone who has struggled to find their bearings as an unworldly young adult will be deeply moved by it - I certainly was (Emma Hughes Country Life 2014-06-16)
This book is hard to put down. irresistible (Lucy Atkins Sunday Times)
Like a literary The Devil Wears Prada . an irresistible read (Harper's Bazaar)
Anyone who has ever dreamed of a life in books will find much to love in Joanna Rakoff's memoir ... Funny and knowing, it's both an idiosyncratic tribute to Salinger's writing and an affirmation of the power of books to spark tectonic human connections (Metro)
Extraordinary ... Gripping and funny ... My Salinger Year is a treat even Jerry might have enjoyed (Rachel Cooke Observer)
An elegant memoir (Jane Shilling Sunday Telegraph)
In prose that is clear, precise and evocative, Rakoff renders her people and places touchably real (Hannah McGill Independent)
This is a funny, delightful, coming-of-age memoir that completely caught me off guard. So absorbing is it that I devoured the whole thing in one sitting (Woman & Home)
A charming coming-of-age memoir that fizzes with youthful energy and bookish insight (Good Housekeeping)
Spellbinding . You don't have to be a Salinger fan to fall under Rakoff's spell; I'm not and I did (Laura Miller Guardian)
Poignant and witty (Company Magazine)
Elegantly written, wryly observed, Rakoff's memoir is a high-quality literary snack (Financial Times)
This is a book for book lovers; not just those who love stories, but those fascinated with peeking "behind the curtain" . A magnificent portrait of a fascinating year; a pleasure to read (Irish Examiner)
Rakoff's raw, honest descriptions of her life in Brooklyn and her loser boyfriend turn this book into a coming of age tale, as Catcher is. But My Salinger Year is more than just a snapshot of a particular time and place. The most powerful and original parts of the book describe the intimate relationships Rakoff establishes with the readers through their letters and explore her theory that ultimately writing is an anatomy of loss (Literary Review)
A coming-of-age book . fun and easy to read (Ann Cleeves People's Friend)
[An] evocative memoir . A lively period piece played out against the alluring backdrop of Manhattan (Emma Hagestadt Independent)
The Devil Wears Prada with a whiff of Mad Men and Girls - a charming coming-of-age memoir about a young woman who lands a job assisting J.D. Salinger's literary agent in the 1990sSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
This charming memoir is about growing up, as much as it is about working in publishing. Joanna is coming to terms with adult life – the worry of debt, having to pay the bills, coping with her feelings for Don and also the excitement of her new job. It is obvious that Joanna is a great lover of literature; an aspiring poet, she is hoping that working for ‘the Agency’ will lead to her exciting and involving jobs, such as reading manuscripts or dealing with authors. However, what she finds is something a little more mundane. For what appears months, she does little but type – on a typewriter. For the Agency distains modern gadgets like computers and, although there are references to “electronic books,” they are only as some kind of science fiction rumour that will never really exist in reality.
Joanna’s boss is a lady who has worked for the Agency for years and is known to have frightened off lesser assistants. However, Joanna is made of sterner stuff and, besides, she needs the money. Her boss deals with many authors, but their most famous client is J.D.Salinger, known to her boss as ‘Jerry’. Almost the first thing that Joanna is told is that she must never give out the personal details, address or phone number, of the reclusive author. Joanna has, though, never read anything by him and is, at first, slightly snobbish about his work.Read more ›
"My Salinger Year" isn't a novel, but reads like one. Joanna Krakoff's's memoirs begins with her first step into working life as a lowly secretary (sorry, `assistant') at one of New Yorks's oldest literary agencies - a strange, old-fashioned place which, at the time when the events take place in 1996, still favours typewriters over computers. The Agency's most famous living client is the reclusive J.D. Salinger - the notoriously difficult author of one of the most important American novels of the 20th Century.
Salinger's name got my attention, but this fascinating memoir makes such a good read for a lot of good reasons; it's a snapshot of working in pre-9/11 New York, and the last glimpse of an industry which was soon going to change beyond recognition with the advent of e-readers and independent publishing. On a really simple, stripped down level, MSY is almost a real-life, reworked version of Melanie Griffith's film `A Working Girl'. And deep down, it is also a Holden-like coming of age story: after a year of typing endless letters and answering Salinger's fan mail, Joanna is finally close to becoming an agent herself. But that's when she decides to move on, and the book ends with Joanna hearing the news that Salinger has died. It's a very poignant ending, which sums up the connection that Joanna had felt with this legendary author during the brief time they crossed paths: "It's just about Salinger."
I really enjoyed this memoir. I loved the agency and its old-fashioned ways and I liked reading about the way it operated. Rakoff also talks about her private life, her aspiring author boyfriend and her parents. Her colleagues were great, a fairly eccentric bunch. This is an endearing look at a special year for this writer and it doesn't matter if you've never read any J.D. Salinger books. I haven't and it took nothing away from the pleasure of the read for me.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In 1996, aged 23, the author moved to New York, moved in with her wannabe-writer boyfriend and landed her first job: assistant to the literary agent for J D Salinger, none of whose... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Bobbie
If you're a Salinger fan this is best avoided. It's just not worth your time. Not just because there is nothing objective to interest a Salinger fan, but because you're not going... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jacam
This book is fantastic whether you are a Salinger fan or not. I loved Catcher in the Rye and used it for my English RPR at Higher. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Sara-Jane Duffus
The author, Joanna Rakoff, has written a memoir of her year working for Phyllis Westberg, the President of the oldest literary agency in New York, Harold Ober Associates. Read morePublished 3 months ago by prisrob
Bought this for our bookclub. On the downside, I'm not sure how much there is to discuss here - more reminiscing really. Read morePublished 6 months ago by D. S. Webster
I came across this book by luck. walking home listening to Radio 4's "A Good Read", this was featured and being a fan of JD Salinger I had to read it. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Mr. G. Bridgeman
If you love books about books then this is the book for you. I don't esp like Salinger but you don't need to to enjoy this gorgeous book . Put this on your TBR list.Published 10 months ago by edel
One of the most engaging books I've read recently. I thoroughly recommend it.Published 10 months ago by pjsh
A book about books, perfect subject.Not something we tend to think about, when enjoying an author. Beautifully written, with a rich and elegant language depicting the beginning of... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Irina Smalley