Friday, March 13, 2015

"A Perfect Day for Bananafish" by J. D. Salinger


Deal Me In Short Story #5

This week I drew the 3 of Spades, which corresponded to "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" from the book Nine Stories by J. D. Salinger. I read this story years ago, along with all his other short stories and novellas. I remember loving his stories, and was eager to read them again, but afraid I would be disappointed. I was not.

It seems that with most short stories it is impossible to say much without revealing spoilers, so this is just a brief introduction. Several of J. D. Salinger's stories and novellas feature one or more members of the Glass family. This was the first one to do that, and it relates the activities of one day when Seymour Glass and his wife Muriel are on vacation in Florida. At the opening of the story, Muriel is talking to her mother on the telephone, and it is obvious that her mother is concerned about Seymour's mental state. Seymour has recently returned from Germany, where he was stationed in the Army.

Salinger submitted this story to the New Yorker in 1947, and editors at that magazine worked with him to revise the story. It was published in 1948 and was met with much acclaim.  J. D. Salinger is a very famous writer, and most famous for his decision to stop writing and stay out of the public eye. All of that is well documented and I am not in any way an expert, so that is all I will say about that. He is the author of one novel, The Catcher in the Rye, which is probably the most well-known work. I loved that too when I read it initially but I am less sure that I will love it when I re-read it.

So the takeaway from reading this story is that I am eager to read more of them. One more is on my Deal Me In Short Story list, and I will be reading the rest throughout the year. There are two other books that contain novellas or short stories, and I plan to find copies of those and re-read them too.

Every other week I draw a random card to determine what short story I will read for the Deal Me In Short Story challenge. My list of short stories is hereJay at Bibliophilopolis hosts the challenge.
 

18 comments:

  1. Tracy, quite frankly, other than "The Catcher in the Rye," I didn't know about Salinger's other works until now, mainly because I never bothered to find out what else he'd written. I'll take a look at this collection.

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    1. Prashant, I definitely recommend trying Salinger's short stories or novellas. I would love to know what you think of them.

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  2. I love this collection and this is my favorite story in it.

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    1. I am eager to try more of the stories in this book, Patti. I have read them before but remember very little about them.

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  3. I too love this collection, though this is not my favourite of the stories - but I think even if he had not written Catcher in the Rye this book (which is called For Esme with Love and Squalour in the UK) would be a classic. Esme is my favourite of the stories.

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    1. Moira, I am eager to get to For Esme with Love and Squalor but I will wait until the card comes up. Between now and then I will read other stories in the book. I am learning a lot that I did not know about Salinger and his writing. There was not so much info easily available when I read the books.

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  4. Salinger had so much more to him than just Catcher in the Rye. Thanks for this reminder of that, Tracy!

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    1. Margot, Salinger is a very interesting writer and generates a lot of opinions on the internet.

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  5. I'm not familiar with his other stuff. Catcher I found profoundly depressing, so I've not been back to him.......undecided now!

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    1. It is hard to know whether to recommend his other writings or not, Col. But it would not hurt to try some of his short stories.

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  6. I've never read J.D. Salinger but I did purchase Catcher in the Rye some years ago. Good to know (and not surprisingly so) that his work has stood the test of time.

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    1. Keishon, I will be interested to see what I think of Catcher in the Rye on a re-read. I would guess that I was in college (maybe in high school) when I read it.

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  7. I haven't read any of these. I saw a program about him a year or two ago and apparently even though he kept out of the public eye he continued to write daily and there are manuscripts stored away somewhere. That in itself would make a good story.
    Ann

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    1. Ann, that is interesting about the manuscripts. I had heard some books might be published. If so, it will be very interesting.

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  8. I remember this story turned me off because of the subject matter, but there are many other great stories in that collection, my faoprite,by far, was the fantastical "The Laughing Man" - actually one of my all-time favorite short stories. I see you have "For Esme With Love and Squalor" on your list, which I think has made a prior DMI appearance or two. Lookforward tohearingyour thoughts on that one!

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    1. Jay, I did see your post on the Bananafish story. I can easily see why it would not appeal, and I don't even know why I liked it so much when I read them before. Possibly I read some of the other Glass family stories and was prepared for it. I look forward to reading more of the short stories in the book.

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  9. After we read Catcher in freshman English I spent the summer reading everything Salinger wrote. I actually loved this story then.

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    1. I agree, Nancy, a wonderful story. It does surprise me that I liked it back then but too long ago to remember. Standing alone, it seems like it would have been incomprehensible but I don't remember the circumstances now.

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