Anyone who knows me knows that J.D. Salinger is my favourite author. Come to think of it, acknowledging that makes the fact that I have not yet written a post on J.D. Salinger is a very odd thing. So I am going to go about writing about Salinger in a most unorthodox way. I shall write about some of his stories, and then I shall write about the man.
So I'll start with A Perfect Day For Bananafish which is the first short story in the anthology Nine Stories which is alternately titled To Esme with Love and Squalor. If you have never read A Perfect Day for Bananafish, then click here as there are very few short stories that are as good as this one.
A Perfect Day For Bananafish is about one of Salinger's recurring characters - Seymour Glass who we meet in Franny and Zooey as well as Raise High the Roofbeam Carpenters Seymour: An Introduction. In many ways A Perfect Day for Bananafish is a lot like The Catcher in the Rye. The main character is suffering and is greatly affected by the things that are going on around him. And the things that affect them most happen to be children. In this story we see Seymour Glass at the beach playing with a little girl. He plays with her in the water and 'sees' a Bananafish. When the little girl confirms that she has seen the Bananafish, it just stirs something in Seymour and it all becomes to much for him. He goes to his room where his wife Muriel is sleeping, takes a gun and ends his life.
I literally gasped at the end of the story, I could not believe how it ended, but knowing Salinger's work one could not expect it to end any other way.