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My Salinger Year [Format Kindle]

Joanna Rakoff

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Descriptions du produit


How many times had I been told that Salinger would not call, would never call, that I would have no contact with him? More than I could count.
And yet one morning, a Friday, at the beginning of April, I picked up the phone and heard someone shouting at me. “HELLO? HELLO?” Then something incomprehensible. “HELLO? HELLO?” More gibberish. Slowly, as in a dream, the gibberish resolved into language. “It’s Jerry,” the caller was shouting. Oh my God, I thought. It’s him. I began, slightly, to quiver with fear, not because I was talking to—or being shouted at by—the actual J. D. Salinger, but because I so feared doing something wrong and incurring my boss’s wrath. My mind began to sift through all the Salinger-related instructions that had been imparted to me, but they had more to do with keeping others away from him, less to do with the man himself. There was no risk of my asking him to read my stories or gushing about The Catcher in the Rye. I still hadn’t read it. “WHO IS THIS?” he asked, though it took me a few tries to understand. “It’s Joanna,” I told him, nine or ten times, yelling at the top of my lungs by the final three. “I’m the new assistant.”
“Well, nice to meet you, Suzanne,” he said, finally, in something akin to a normal voice. “I’m calling to speak to your boss.” I had assumed as much. Why had Pam put him through to me, rather than taking a message? My boss was out for the day, it being Friday, her reading day.
I conveyed this to him, or hoped that I did. “I can call her at home and have her call you back today. Or she can give you a call when she gets in on Monday.”
“Monday is fine,” he said, his voice ratcheted down another notch. “Well, very nice to meet you, Suzanne. I hope we meet in person someday.”
“Me, too,” I said. “Have a great day.” This was not a phrase I ever used. Where had it come from?
“YOU, TOO!” Ah, the shouting.
I put the phone down and took a deep breath, as I’d learned to do in ballet. My entire body, I realized, was shaking. I stood up and stretched.
“Jerry?” asked Hugh, stepping out of his office with a mug of coffee.
“Yes!” I said. “Wow.”
“He’s deaf. His wife set up this special phone for him, with an amplified receiver, but he refuses to use it.” He sighed his trademark sigh. To be Hugh was to be let down by the world. “What did he want?”
“Just to talk to my boss.” I shrugged. “I offered to call her at home and have her call him back, but he said Monday was fine.”
Hugh wrinkled his face in thought. “Hmm, why don’t you call her anyway. I think she’d want to know.”
“Okay,” I said, thumbing through my Rolodex.
She wasn’t home and had no answering machine. She didn’t believe in them. Just as she didn’t believe in computers or voice mail, another newfangled invention not employed by the Agency. If you called during business hours, you reached Pam, the receptionist. If you called outside business hours, the phone just rang and rang, as it did at my boss’s apartment, twenty blocks north of the office. I tried again, every hour or so, until the end of the day, to no avail. It would have to be Monday.

Revue de presse

My Salinger Year is at heart—and it has lots of heart—an affecting coming-of-age memoir about a naïve, eager literary aspirant who, like a character out of Salinger (Franny Glass, for one), ‘was trying to figure out how to live in this world’ . . . What adds freshness to My Salinger Year is not just its wry take on the writer of the rye but Rakoff’s sympathetic mix of passivity, naïveté, stoicism, earnestness, understated intelligence, and finely honed literary sensibility . . . Rakoff wisely—and deftly—weaves her Salinger story into a broader, more universal tale about finding one’s bearings during a pivotal transitional year into real adulthood.”
            —Heller McAlpin, The Washington Post
“A breezy memoir of being a ‘bright young assistant’ in the mid-1990s . . . Salinger himself makes a cameo appearance . . . The real star of My Salinger Year remains the Agency itself, with its Dictaphones and fox stoles, its wistful attempts to cling to the days of ‘“Thin Man” movies and steamship travel’ . . . The ‘archaic charms’ of the Agency are comically offset by its refusal to acknowledge the Internet age.”
            —Suzanne Berne, The New York Times Book Review
“Glamorous . . . A time-capsule portrait . . . Rakoff does a marvelous job of capturing a cultural moment—the publishing industry on the cusp of the Internet era—and describing the ambition and anxiety of a young, bright, creative person living beyond her means in an expensive and relentlessly competitive city . . . What is most admirable is [her] critical intelligence and generosity of spirit.”
            —Priscilla Gilman, The Boston Globe
“Absorbing . . . Not only does Rakoff adeptly capture the uncertainty of youth—how one weaves down the road of responsibility, with hardly enough money for rent or sense for relationships—she also perfectly describes the agency’s office . . . A beautifully written tribute to the way things were at the edge of the digital revolution, and also to the evergreen power of literature to guide us through all of life’s transitions.”
            —Kim Schmidt, Chicago Tribune
“Charming . . . Accomplished . . . With her gimlet eye for detail, Rakoff captures 1996 hipster Brooklyn perfectly, although these creative, aspiring, slightly ridiculous people are eternal types . . . My Salinger Year’s heart lies with Rakoff’s own story . . . Salinger is not a mentor to her but a muse who inspires her artistic independence.”
            —Alix Ohlin, San Francisco Chronicle  

“Rings true . . . Rakoff is a keen observer . . . The loneliness of life after college, perfectly explained . . . There’s something Salingeresque about her book: it’s a vivid story of innocence lost.”
            —Entertainment Weekly
“Gentle, funny, closely observed . . . Covers much more than just Salinger . . . The special unworldliness of the young literary person, who has reached adulthood without ever knowing or caring much about how the world works, is the real subject of My Salinger Year.”
            —Tablet Magazine
“Moving . . . Heartfelt . . . Rakoff uses Salinger—his fan mail and her favorite character, Franny—to help illuminate her inner life . . . The memoir is touching, and it’s easy to empathize with how Rakoff, like Franny, is ‘trying to figure out how to live in this world.’”
            —USA Today
My Salinger Year describes its author’s trip down a metaphorical rabbit hole back in 1996. She arrived not in Wonderland, but a place something like it, a New York City firm she calls only the Agency . . . An outright tribute to the enduring power of J.D. Salinger’s work.”
“Gripping and funny . . . A coming-of-age story: an involving, evocative tale that will have bookish women everywhere shuddering in recognition. Like Rona Jaffe’s novel of the 50s, The Best of Everything, it is concerned with what it feels like to move to the big city, to take on your first job, and to struggle to survive on a tiny salary when all the while your dreams are seemingly being snuffed out at every turn, and your love life is spiraling into muddle and mayhem. It is about the heady, never-forgotten period in every girl’s life when fear and elation seem almost to be the same thing . . . So raw and so true.”
            —The Guardian
“Hard to put down . . . Demands sympathy, admiration, and attention . . . The details about Salinger are fascinating . . . What this book is really about, though, is not Salinger, but Rakoff; a coming-of-age tale of a young writer . . . Irresistible.”
            —The Sunday Times
“Intimate . . . Elegant . . . Graceful.”
            —The Sunday Telegraph
“As memoirs go, this is possibly one of the year’s funniest, enthralling and entertaining . . . For an insight into old-fashioned publishing this must be hard to beat. Everyone smokes, returns tiddly from boozy lunches, and authors are treated with respect. It knocks spots off The Devil Wears Prada.”
            —The Sydney Morning Herald
“Lures you in . . . A story about growing up and getting better in a rapidly changing industry and world.”
            —Flavorwire, “June 2014 Books You Must Read”
“Honest, introspective, and completely compelling . . . Sure to appeal to readers who are obsessed with the enigmatic Salinger, but it is intended for those who have experienced (or are experiencing) their own bluesy, confused, post-college Salinger Year. Rakoff is a careful observer and endearingly human. Her coming-of-age story is a gentle reminder that we are all, still, coming of age.”
            —Library Journal
“Sharply observed . . . Engaging, particularly for its mastery of tone . . . Rakoff provides good company as she explores the mysteries of the literary world.”
            —Kirkus Reviews
“This is a vibrant coming-of-age memoir that moves along with momentum and energy, and one only wishes Rakoff had spent more than one year with Salinger so we’d have an even fuller portrait of a man who was and is often misunderstood.”  
            —Publishers Weekly
“While it may be the Salinger cameo that initially draws readers in, it’s Rakoff’s effortlessly elegant, unhyperbolic prose and poignant coming-of-age story that will keep them engrossed through the very last word.”
“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 national bestseller, Seating Arrangements
“The writing is beautiful, and the story takes me back to my first days in New York . . . The best thing I’ve read in ages.”
            —J. Courtney Sullivan
 “This is an impossibly excellent read—a glowingly entertaining, miss-your-subway-stop engrossing, note-perfect piece of storytelling. Joanna Smith Rakoff’s My Salinger Year is ostensibly about finding your way as a young adult and what it really means to be on your own for the first time; but it’s really about Manhattan at the brink of the internet age, the disappointments of love, the joys of reading, the perils of ambition, phonies (of course it’s about phonies!), what books meant to our culture in the twentieth century and what they continue to mean in the new one. Really now, who doesn't want to find out what it’s like to have cranky old Jerry Salinger screaming at you first thing, before you’ve even had your morning coffee?”
            —Charles Bock, author of New York Times bestseller, Beautiful Children
“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. We root for Joanna as she painstakingly juggles the Dictaphone and Selectric of her enigmatic chain-smoking female boss, in a city that has banned nicotine and switched to computers; as she deals with her lovable, impetuous, gym-rat Socialist boyfriend in the still-Wild West of Williamsburg; and as she finds herself in the worshipping world of ‘Jerry,’ the stodgy agency’s venerated star-client and reason for being. Joanna discovers herself the just-pre-“start-up”-world way: by worrying and feeling and writing and struggling. Make no mistake: Joanna's memoir is about her, not J.D. Salinger. And we're the richer for it.”
            —Sheila Weller, author of New York Times bestseller Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon, and the Journey of a Generation
“Every young person who moves to New York with creative ambitions should read Joanna Rakoff’s wonderful memoir of being young and literary in the late 1990s. Navigating her first ‘real’ job—which happens to be at a storied literary agency—a live-in boyfriend who doesn’t invite her to his best friend’s wedding and an apartment without a kitchen sink, Rakoff finds joy in reading and writing and in the city itself, which comes alive in her hands, from rooftop parties downtown to the Plaza Hotel to arty coffee shops in not-yet-gentrified parts of Brooklyn. Meanwhile, the story Rakoff tells of that one all-important year is as transporting as the best novels and is full of insight into work, love and the pursuit of an artistic life.”
            —Adelle Waldman, author of The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.
“I fell in love with My Salinger Year like the young Joanna Rakoff falls in love with the books in it—deeply, with abandon, letting the world fall away. For anyone who worked in a pre-Google office in New York City, this book is a gift of memory, a Dictaphone transcription from a forgotten age. But anyone who loves fiction, and people, and youth, and love, will fall in love with it, too—and with Joanna's sensuous longing for belonging, the lovely and curious kind of coming of age we all would like to remember for ourselves.”
            —Eleanor Henderson, author of Ten Thousand Saints

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1606 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 274 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 0307958000
  • Editeur : Knopf (3 juin 2014)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00H6J7PP6
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.1 étoiles sur 5  163 commentaires
44 internautes sur 48 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 "Salinger was nothing like I thought. Nothing." 22 mai 2014
Par Jill I. Shtulman - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
The very first thing I did upon closing the last page of this excellent book was to go to Amazon and wish list Franny and Zooey – a book I’ve been meaning to read for years. My Salinger Year made me understand – all over again – why J.D. Salinger was such a phenomenon…”because the experience of reading a Salinger story is less than reading a short story and more like having Salinger himself whisper his accounts into your year.”

But make no mistake, this book is not about J.D. Salinger. Not really. It’s about Joanna Rakoff, but it could be about any young woman, straight out of college, naïve and wishful, striving to get in touch with what’s authentic and what’s real.

For Ms. Rakoff, that means taking a job with sub-standard pay at a literary agency called the Agency – although just a little bit of Googling reveals that the Agency is Harold Ober Associates, a venerable agency that represented J.D. Salinger. There she worked for Phyllis Westberg (referred to as “my boss”) who fiercely protected his privacy and his legend.

Young Joanna, living with her socialist would-be writer boyfriend, Don in a dumpy Wiliamsburg apartment, spends her days on her Selectric and Dictaphone…right at the time when more forward-thinking agencies have invested in computers. One of her tasks is to respond to J.D. Salinger’s many fervent fans through an Agency form letter; quickly, she abandons that practice and surreptiously begins writing her own heartfelt responses.

Eventually, it dawns on us what “My Salinger Year” really means. It’s not just a year of spent responding to the voluminous and candid fan mail…and sometimes, speaking with “Jerry” himself. It’s also understanding the ongoing significance of Salinger in her life: “To somehow find a way to live in a world that sickens her. To be her authentic self. To not be the person the world is telling her to be, the girl who must bury her intelligence…who must compromise herself in order to live.”

That’s not just a description of Franny. It’s an apt description of Joanna Rakoff. Indeed, these are sentences that can apply to each of us. This is a simply wonderful book, a book that’s custom-made for every aspiring writer, every passionate reader, and every dreamer who wants to face the world on her own terms.
20 internautes sur 21 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Not "just about Salinger" 28 avril 2014
Par E.M. Bristol - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
When twentysomething Joanna Rakoff returns from graduate school in London to New York City in 1996, she's lucky enough to snare a "real job," with a literary agency (typing skills on a typewriter a plus!) and a boss who just happens to be J.D. Salinger's literary agent. Unbeknownst to the boss (who goes unnamed), Rakoff is one of the very few who has never read Salinger and thus at first thinks she's referring to Seinfield, when her boss gives her a lecture on "Jerry." Rule number one is that you always pass a call from Jerry onto the boss, and you also never, ever give out his personal details. In addition:

"He doesn't want to read your stories. He doesn't want to hear how much you loved 'Catcher in the Rye.""
"I don't have any stories," I told her half-truthfully.
"Good," she said. "Writers always make the worse assistants."

In fact, Rakoff, who goes on to publish a novel and poetry, finds that she has a knack for picking out possibilities from the slush pile and editing. But since part of her job is sending form letters to Salinger's correspondents, she becomes dissatisfied with the format, and begins to add personal touches to them. (A few she is unable to reply to for various reasons, but winds up keeping them after she leaves the agency.) She does wind up meeting "Jerry," and even having a few conversations with him, as he intends to publish his last short story "Hapworth," at the time. And - if you're like the reviewer this may make you even more envious - she gets to (briefly) meet Judy Blume.

However, the bulk of the book is about Rakoff herself, adjusting to full-fledged adulthood. Away from the job, she deals with a less than ideal boyfriend, a home without heat, debt and friends who are no longer seem to share all her interests. While this is well trod territory, as is the memorable first job, Rakoff does bring a freshness to her descriptions. Many - especially the parts about how her boss slowly comes to acknowledge the necessity of computers and (gasp) the Internet are hilarious. I doubt I could be so generous and un-snarky in her shoes. Ultimately, the lessons Rakoff learns are not in themselves unique, but it's easy to cheer her on when she does begin to mature. Upon moving at the end, she even gives her plaid skirts to Goodwill. "After all, I was not a schoolgirl anymore."
27 internautes sur 32 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 loved, loved, loved this memoir 24 avril 2014
Par g3 - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
Rakoff's memoir recounts her post-graduate year in the late 1990's when she worked at a literary agency in New York that represented J.D. Salinger. The agency deliberately refused to modernize, so her job involved typing documents that her boss dictated on a Dictaphone. Computer literate, she had to learn to produce these documents on an IBM Selectric typewriter (I can remember when these were state of the art and the envy of every typist!). The agency, and Rakoff's boss in particular, are the guardians of Salinger's famed privacy, and Rakoff's job involves fending off all efforts by fans, publishers, journalists, and everyone else to get in touch with J.D. During the year, she comes to know Salinger somewhat, through frequent phone conversations and one in person meeting. Though well read, she had somehow missed Salinger's works, so towards the end of the year, she spends a long weekend reading them all. She knows by year's end that she does not want to spend her life as a literary agent for others. Instead, she will become an author herself. Fortunately for us, Rakoff's year of Salinger provided her with the material for this compelling tale and gave her a life-long appreciation for Salinger's work. I practically read this book in one sitting, and now want to re-read all of Salinger. Highly recommend.
35 internautes sur 45 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 Unnecessarily revelations 22 juin 2014
Par Wayne Karlin - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Full disclosure: the "boss" Joanna Rakoff describes in this book has been my agent for over 30 years. In spite of the fact I make very little money for her, she has always been supportive of me simply because she likes my writing--a fact the agent called "Max" in this memoir, who considered her an anachronism, would no doubt decry. For me, the "boss" is one of a dying breed of agents, editors and publishers who are in the business because they love writing.
And I like Rakoff's writing. She describes the publishing industry and what is happening to it well, and more importantly she allows her readers to experience her coming of age, her evolution during the year of which she writes into a strong, independent person.
She also allows us to appreciate the way Salinger--and writers like Salinger--get under our skins and help us in our our separate struggles to become fully human.
But what I abhor is the way Rakoff reveals secrets about the private life of her boss, secrets which are wholly unnecessary to her narrative and unworthy of the quality of the rest of the writing The book could have easily accomplished all the good things I mention above without those revelations. It would have been simple human decency and have demonstrated a respect for the privacy of someone who was a mentor (ironically the same respect that Salinger insisted upon) to leave those details out. Yes, they sell books, they allow a momentary little titter of recognition if the reader knows who the person is; even this review, unfortunately, will probably tempt other people to get the book. But they are unworthy of the person Joanna Rakoff seems to have striven to become in the pages of this book; they reduce the book to just another gossipy tell-all, something It did not have to be and should not have become. Shame on her.
8 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Some Good Aspects, Some Cringeworthy Aspects 29 août 2014
Par Cynthia C.C. - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle
This book works on some levels. As a little slice of life story about a young, poor writer/poet attempting to find her way in the New York literary world, it was interesting. As a glimpse into an old-school literary agency, it was also interesting. But there are other aspects that are complete turnoffs regarding both the story and Rakoff herself.

First, most obviously, she betrays Salinger. A strong word, perhaps, but I think it is warranted. Salinger was an extremely, drastically, notoriously private person. Rakoff was employed by his literary agency, which worked very hard to protect his privacy. Confidentiality certainly would have been expected. For Rakoff, who worked within that realm of confidentiality, to now write a little tell-all book about her interactions with Salinger while she was working at the agency is truly unethical. That is nearly akin to a paralegal writing a book about her interactions with a client of her law firm. Rakoff really should be ashamed of herself.

Second, Rakoff doesn't write about Salinger from some historic sense of adding to our understanding of the great writer. No, she does so simply to inflate herself, to put herself in juxtaposition to Salinger in order to generate a little fame by glomming on to his. How saleable would her book have been without his name attached? Yeah, you get the picture.

Third, her relationship with Don is nearly repulsive, and completely incomprehensible. A reader never has any sense whatsoever of what she is doing with him. Near the beginning, she mentions that they are attracted to each other. So? Any given person will meet many people to whom he/she is attracted. That doesn't mean the person should jump into a long-term relationship based solely on that attraction. And if there was more than physical attraction between Don and Rakoff, we never get the faintest hint of what it might have been. The scenes between them cause a reader to cringe.

Fourth, Rakoff, even as she gets older, apparently was and is very immature. She dumps her college boyfriend, whom she claims to love, and shacks up with Don, while still claiming to be in love with the (ex) boyfriend. She later marries a third guy and has two kids with him, and then she dumps him to reunite with the college boyfriend. This last occurred when she was about 40 years old. I feel sorry for the kids.
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