Ian Sansom

Catch Him If You Can

Salinger

By

Simon & Schuster 704pp £25 order from our bookshop

In his brilliantly provocative, entertaining and utterly infuriating postmodern manifesto Reality Hunger, published in 2010 to much acclaim and derision, the novelist and writer David Shields made a case for books that mixed things up, blurred boundaries and generally tossed stuff together into a fragrant potpourri of fact, fiction, gossip, rumour and anecdote. Salinger is the offspring of the Shields shake-it-up method – a 700-page mugwort-and-jujube mash-up of biography, critical summary and cuttings file. Compiled by Shields with the film director Shane Salerno, and based on their recently released documentary film, Salinger is not really a book. It’s a scrapbook. Or maybe just a scrappy book. Or a book intended to start scraps: Shields certainly strikes one as a slugger. Who knows? Whatever it is, it’s like no biography you’ve read before.

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