People look and photograph the new statue of American writer Jerome David Salinger in Paminklas, Lithuania, Friday, June 19, 2020. J.D. Salinger, the American writer best known for his 1951 novel “The Catcher in the Rye,” has been honored with a statue in a rye field, near the Lithuanian village where his ancestors lived. (AP Photo/Vladas Sciavinskas)
Last week, an outdoor sculpture honoring the iconic American author J.D. Salinger was dedicated on a hillside near his family’s ancestral home in Lithuania. The artwork celebrates the writer’s most acclaimed novel The Catcher in the Rye. Ironically, Salinger’s 1951 bildungsroman of adolescent angst was banned in Lithuania until the 1990s.
The recorded history of the Salinger family in this area goes back to the early 19th century when this region was still part of Czarist Russia. There’s documentary evidence that the writer’s great grandfather lived in the nearby village of Sudargas in the 1830s. In all likelihood, any of Salinger’s remaining relatives were murdered either by the Nazis during World War II, or even earlier by Lithuanians or Russians during 19th century anti-Semitic pogroms.
The sculpture is of a human silhouette cut out in a steel plate that is bent before a void. The metal plate is attached to a concrete block that carries the name J.D. Salinger above a rye field printed on the side of the block that is sticking out from a hill surrounded by a forest.
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