I’ve never met anyone with the name Esmé. The one and only time I’ve seen it is in J.D. Salinger‘s short story, “For Esmé — with Love and Squalor.” It’s a masterpiece. It’s a quiet story about loneliness and compassion. The Wikipedia entry for the story states: “Lack of purity and innocence in the adult world, love of childhood itself, and the power of words and writing are among the

The Best of J.D. Salinger

Written in ink, in German, in a small, hopelessly sincere handwriting, were the words “Dear God, life is hell.”? Nothing led up to or away from it. Alone on the page, and in the sickly stillness of the room, the words appeared to have the stature of an uncontestable, even classic indictment. X stared at the page for several minutes, trying, against heavy odds, not to be taken in. Then,