New York native Joanna Rakoff explores the existential theme of entering adulthood in this coming-of-age memoir.
Freshly out of university, Rakoff takes a job as a secretary at one of New York’s oldest literary agencies in the mid-90’s, only to discover it is the same agency which shot J.D. Salinger to fame.This simplistic story tells of her year working on a project for Salinger which never came to fruition, discovering his works for herself for the first time, grappling with what adulthood means, and leaving behind love for the sake of what she describes as “a little unhappy and constantly lonely” in the hopes of getting her own works published.
While nothing much happens in the story itself, this book is exquisitely written and makes for an easy read. Set against the backdrop of New York, its hard to resist being sucked into the world of literature that Rakoff paints, cleverly using Salinger to discuss the themes that she herself has wrestled with.
This well-constructed novel is definitely worth a read, whether you are familiar with Salinger’s work or not. I paired this with a rich and aromatic Italian wine, the Bardolino Zonin, a bordeaux-style blend which reflects the fruity and soft flavours of a pinot noir while being quite heavy on the alcohol side of things. This wine is as well-constructed as Rakoff’s novel.