Holden Caulfield is a garrulous bore. Seymour Glass is a phoney. Franny and Zooey are spoiled brats. And J.D. Salinger is a media tart. All these things are partly true. To take the last first: there is surely a ring of truth about Imre Salusinzsky’s recent spoof obituary in which Jay Leno and David Letterman are quoted expressing their sadness at the loss of a favourite regular guest who was always ready to front up and sparkle as he promoted an endless succession of Catcher in the Rye merchandise. Salinger, who died on January 27, aged ninety-one, may not have done such things, but at least one of his alter egos might.