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Author Archive: "Joanna Rakoff"

Powell’s Q&A: Joanna Rakoff

Describe your latest book.
My Salinger Year is a memoir about my sojourn as the assistant to J. D. Salinger's agent, a job that involved answering his fan mail, typing letters on an ancient IBM Selectric, mastering an archaic device known as a Dictaphone, and generally coping — or trying to decipher — the odd, outmoded customs and practices of the agency. When I took the job, my boss warned me that I'd never see Salinger, that he would never call, and if by some crazy chance he did, I was to utter as few words as possible and immediately put him through to her. As it turned out, this was not the case! Salinger decided, during my first month at the agency, to publish a new book: a standalone edition of his last published story. And soon he began calling frequently, if not as often as his fans.

Over the course of my year at the agency, I got to know Salinger better than I ever thought I would, but also got to know those fans, whose letters affected me in a profound and unexpected way. ...


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