Top Israeli Editor Reviews “Escape From Mount Moriah”

By Nissan Ratzlav Katz In Escape from Mount Moriah, Jack Engelhard achieves the impossible. In a single story, a single page, a single paragraph, even a single sentence, he combines a deep, abiding love with the unvarnished, penetrating gaze of a child, gritty realism with sublime philosophy, brevity with depth, the quintessentially Jewish with the essentially…

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Salinger’s Protest from Dachau

By Jack Engelhard

We don’t have to wonder what J.D Salinger would have thought of the world today even as Israel fights back mobs from Syria and prepares for more bloodlust from its enemies domestic and abroad. Salinger told it plainly and powerfully in his novel “The Catcher in the Rye,” published in 1951, and following that, in his 60 years of retreat into silence. He would have called his vow of silence, “The fire between the words.”

“The Catcher in the Rye,” one of the most admired novels of the century past and present, is a work of loathing and lamentation despite its teenage lingo.

Holden Caulfield seeks truth and purity but finds mendacity and corruption. Justice, justice, he pursues. Do I suggest that Salinger was Biblical? Well, he certainly was Jewish. He was born to a Jewish father and not till later, after his Bar Mitzvah, did he find out that his mother was Catholic, passing for Jewish. (Please, save the technicalities for later.)

In his humility he never prided his Jewishness, nor did he ever shame it, like Philip Roth.

Along the way to his fame as one of our greatest writers, something happened to Salinger that demands our attention at this very moment as we brace for Israel’s summer of discontent, which has already started at all sides from a world that, once again, won’t calm down until it gets what it wants…

Salinger is our witness to what happened before and to what can happen again.

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Strange Deafness Afflicts Salinger Lawsuit

 

By Jack Engelhard

 

Salinger can’t hear? That’s hard to take.

 

Reports are coming in that JD Salinger “is now totally deaf.” That’s a quote being attributed to his agent, whose job it is to enforce his privacy.

 

As I wrote in an earlier piece (“Salinger Alleges Indecent Rip-off”), I don’t know much about the law, but here, as a novelist who names Salinger as one of his literary heroes, I can say what strangeness it is to blurt out such news. I don’t doubt the truth of this revelation, but I do wonder why it got out from his gatekeepers. They must have known it would make headlines – and not in a good way.

 

Already there are parodies of his aging (he’s 90) and headlines that term him “frail and deaf.” (Shades of Howard Hughes?) I hope we’re not gloating.

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Salinger Alleges Indecent Rip-Off

  Indecent Proposal 

 

By Jack Engelhard

Someone has come along with a “sequel” to JD Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye.” Salinger is suing to stop publication and distribution. He calls it a “rip-off.” Don’t look at me to get into the legalities. But I do know how it feels.

I wrote nothing as popular as “The Catcher in the Rye” but popular enough to be translated into more than 22 languages and to be made into a movie starring Robert Redford and Demi Moore – “Indecent Proposal.” (The movie’s box office was about $260 million worldwide.) The novel’s concept (“what would you do for a million dollars?”) was mine and the title was mine. This was original and it was my baby.

My novel sold about 4 million copies worldwide and still sells (through Comteq Publishing) even after the movie has run dry.

Salinger’s novel is still going strong after sales of 70 million.

Around the house, following the publication of “Indecent Proposal,” we used to say, “No matter what happens, they can’t take that away from you.”

Really?

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Books That Could Never Get Published Today

By Jack Engelhard

Readers at the New York Times have already spoken about the most overrated books of all time and the winners (or rather, the losers) are J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye” and God’s “The Bible.” I read all about it in the Times’ Paper Cuts blog ( “Plaster Saints?”) and arrived at the conclusion that the least favorable works were usually those that failed to adhere to political correctness. 

Hence, Books That Could Never Get Published Today

The Hebrew Bible: Too Jewish.

Confessions of St. Augustine: Too Christian.

Moby Dick — Dear Mr. Melville: A quite similar book has already been done by Jonah and it is still in print. We’d reconsider if you could produce a more sensitive Capt. Ahab. You do go on about whaling. Also, your opening line does not work for us. Can you come up with something better than “Call me Ishmael?” (Our first readers, by the way, were rooting for the whale.)

The Old Man and the Sea — Dear Mr. Hemingway: We no longer use the term “old man.” (Our first readers, by the way, were rooting for the fish.)

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