Arnon Grunberg

Fan mail


In his obituary in the Times Charles McGrath writes: ‘As a young man, Mr. Salinger yearned ardently for just this kind of attention. He bragged in college about his literary talent and ambitions, and wrote swaggering letters to Whit Burnett, the editor of Story magazine. But success, once it arrived, paled quickly for him. He told the editors of Saturday Review that he was “good and sick” of seeing his photograph on the dust jacket of “The Catcher in the Rye” and demanded that it be removed from subsequent editions. He ordered his agent to burn any fan mail.’

To burn fan mail might be a healthy thing to do.

“For Esmé - with Love and Squalor” remains one of the most beautiful short stories I’ve ever read.