At twenty-three, Joanna Rakoff moves to New York City and takes a job as assistant to the storied literary agent for J. D. Salinger. She spends her days in the agency, where Dictaphones and typewriters still reign and old-time agents doze at their desks after martini lunches. Joanna is given the task of answering Salinger's fan mail. But as she reads the candid, heart-wrenching letters from his readers, she finds herself unable to type out the agency's decades-old form response. Instead, drawn inexorably into the emotional world of Salinger's devotees, she abandons the template and begins writing back.