I have finally done it. I’ve finally gotten around to reading this classic American novel of anarchy and teenage rebellion. I do wish that I had read it when I was 17, I feel like it would have shaped me much more than it has as a 20-something. The story of rebellious teen Holden Caulfield has become a clarion call for many, including American war veterans and would-be assassins. When he was arrested for the murder of John Lennon, Mark David Chapman handed police a copy of the book that he had bought that very day, and in it was written: To Holden Caulfield from Holden Caulfield: This is my statement. I didn’t find it the easiest book in the world to read, but as a technical literary work, I can appreciate the beauty and crafting that went into this book, particularly the fact that Salinger managed to crawl into the mind of a disillusioned 16 year old boy trying to come to terms with his brothers death from leukemia. Salinger richly deals with the themes of living in a broken world with no purpose, and I had a deep existential reading of the novel (existentialism was very prominent at the time it was written, just after World War Two). Although not much happens really, the book is a rich internal monologue from Holden’s perspective “about this madman stuff that happened to me around last Christmas.” It’s short, and if classic literature is your thing, it is definitely worth a read, to be followed swiftly by Joanna Rakoff (I did it the wrong way around). I paired this book with an easy drinking Kanonkop Kadette Cape Blend, with notes of raspberries and mocha.
Out of the Silent Planet is the first novel is the rare C.S Lewis series known as The Space Trilogy. I have found these books particularly difficult to come by, so I was delighted one day to find an outlet store in the city that had just two copies of the series in full.
Lewis is known for his theological works for adults and fantasy work for children, but few readers are aware that this great author dabbled in sci-fi. It is rumoured that his good friend Tolkien, neither approved of nor enjoyed the manuscripts of his space trilogy when he was given them to read.
This first book tells the story of philologist, Dr Ransom, who is kidnapped by a cosmologist and taken to the planet Malacandra, where he believes he is to be sacrificed to the planets inhabitants. Typically infused with Lewis’ symbolism, the book is a symphony of descriptions which warm the heart. It also provides insightful commentary on the human race and its destructive nature. All in all, if you are a Lewis fan, you will probably enjoy this story.
I paired this with the equally intricate Steenberg Shiraz, a textured and peppery wine.