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My Salinger Year

Joanna Rakoff

In 1996, Rakoff spent a year working in a literary agency while pursuing the dream of writing her own masterpieces of poetry. The posh office contrasted with the crumbling apartment that she shared with her equally aspiring writer-boyfriend. She was tasked with answering mail sent to the agency for J. D. Salinger, a writer she had never read and who had rejected all communications since 1963. At first she typed - yes, typed with carbon paper - the standard formal response and threw the fan letters away. Rebellion set in and she started to respond to some personally. And one day "Jerry" came into the office...