Inventing J. D. Salinger

By Jack Engelhard

 

The upstairs literary crowd, Eustace Tilley types, are already sharpening their pencils for Dan Brown’s next book, “The Lost Symbol,” even though it won’t be birthed until September. I’m not here to defend Dan Brown except to say that he delivered as promised. His big book, “The Da Vinci Code” was exactly about that, the Da Vinci code.

 

Dan Brown is not adored by the literati and the sniping has already begun as meanwhile Haruki Murakami, one of their favorites, keeps getting embraced.

 

Murakami’s latest gem is titled “Kafka on the Shore” and I happen to be a huge fan of Kafka and nearly went ahead to buy the book until, doing the usual online searches, I found that this book about Kafka is not about Kafka. It’s about a character Murakami has named Kafka with no connection to the great writer Franz Kafka.

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The Art of Pushing Books

By Jack Engelhard

 

The trick is to get yourself a good publicist, a publicist, as I was once told, who would kill for you. Well, that’s going too far, don’t you think? I haven’t had a publicist since that one time back then. After that it’s been me and you and where are you? I must learn the art of persuasion, public relations, backslapping. I should go to the right parties. I should do lunch at Elaine’s. I should get out more. Must get on TV. Better yet, get my own show.

 

My guess is that I’ll become rich and famous after I die. That’s how it usually happens. Success (for artists) usually happens after it too late.

 

I have no idea why I’m complaining. Most people have it worse. My gripe, I guess, is why we need all that marketing and the trickery that goes with it and why it is that TV personalities have all the apparatus and all the luck – when real writers  are stuck at our computers without a paddle.

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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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When Fiction Becomes Fact

By Jack Engelhard

   The Girls of Cincinnati My latest paperback novel, “The Girls of Cincinnati,” is a work of fiction. It’s about a hot love affair that gets interrupted when a third party intrudes with the intent of doing damage. It’s true that I based the female lead on someone I knew, and knew warmly, in Cincinnati, back in the days of my youth. That would be Stephanie Eaton, as I have her in the novel – high-born and high-class. She is so rich and so beautiful that she feels that nothing can ever go wrong. (Life is full of surprises.)

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We’ll Always Have Typos

 

By Jack Engelhard

 

Don’t know about you but as for me, I always catch my typos when it’s too late, like when I’ve already sent something out, or even after I’ve had it published — all that even after I’ve done the re-writing and re-reading a hundred times. I don’t let anything go until it’s perfect. But it’s never perfect!

 

Typos happen, usually overnight when you’re not watching.   

 

Though it’s already available on Kindle, I’m having a new novel published in paperback (“The Girls of Cincinnati,”) and in fact it already IS published though it won’t be up on Amazon until a couple of weeks. Before I gave it the okay, I had the proof copy for proofreading and found no mistakes, which makes my point, once again, that I’m a lousy proofreader – as are most novelists.

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