The Catcher in the Rye
277 pages, 1951
First published in 1951, J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye remains one of the most influential novels of the twentieth century and a true cultural touchstone. The hero-narrator of the novel is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caufield.
Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days. A sensitive, intelligent boy, Caufield's conscience and concern for others are at war with his own teenage self-centeredness and a growing sense of alienation from the adult world--a conflict expressed in his poignant internal monologues, and external encounters with family, friends, teachers, classmates, and strangers as he wanders about Manhattan during a rainstorm.