"A profound unmitigated loneliness is the only truth of life"
- R.K. Narayan

When I started reading, what struck me at once was the style of narration. It is quite contrary to what I had normally read upto then. Phrases like "He thinks he is big and all", "He thinks he is good or something"... reminds me of our school lingo; except that there was no "Simp-simply", "me-me-only", "go man, I will not show" or "go ya" in the book. I felt Salinger could have been the harbinger of new narrative styles but it was probably not to be - as this was his only published novel. Yet the novel remains controversial and popular to this day...

It is a first hand account of Holden Caulfield, a premature teenager sorts who is just about to be expelled from school. The storyline just happens across a couple of days and is based in New York City. It starts when Holden's semester is coming to a close and Christmas vacations are just about to begin.
Holden is portrayed to be a nonconformist - trying not to appreciate the usual sense of the world; ending up being under-mature while trying to be over-mature for his age. Getting a false sense of adulthood by being over-protective over his sister and also attempting to live out in the big bad world of NYC on his own.
Some touching points of this novel (for me) was the way he recounts events or people in his life and they way he feels about them. The lamenting to meet up with his childhood flame - a girlfriend that he had gotten so intimate with. Not able to forget school buddies and bullies alike. Trying to pick at people - ranting about their shortcomings and getting a false sense of novelty about himself. Seeing everything in this world, other than himself, to be phony or artificial. Some very valid emotions that any typical city-bred teenager goes through during the course of sexual and mental maturity.

I count this book in the same league as Million Mutinies by Naipaul or Last Day of a Condemned Man by Victor Hugo. Its strange as these books are all so varied but what matters to me is what touched me and in all three books there is a profound speculation aspect (of questioning various aspects of existence) that just strikes a chord with me. I can relate to it so well that sometimes its not a book.. it becomes a mirror!