Sam's Blog

Twenty-four hours is like three weeks!

A Little More on Salinger (And I’m Home)

Posted by samgr on October 11, 2007

Back in the states after a long night’s series of flights.

And while on my Tico Salinger kick, I also read Nine Stories by Salinger. I’m now officially Salingered out (and I guess so is Salinger since 1965…) I still like The Catcher in the Rye a whole lot, but the stories are much less interesting too me. I like Holden because he’s pretty much a regular person. The Glass family — which Salinger seems to get more and more fixated on — is far less interesting to me as a character or set of characters. They’re all geniuses. They’re into Eastern religion. They talk all the friggin’ time in language no human would ever speak. They’re conflicted and stuff. I’m bored of them, and I don’t get why Salinger isn’t as well.

Also, Salinger is very big on the whole “cute kids” kick, which is bizarre, since I think of him as such a smart, cynical writer. Some precocious girl helps a soldier come to terms with WWII. A kid defeats prejudice because he hears “kite” for “kike”. Some irritating little towhead is a Buddhist genius and predicts the future. Blah. After a while it gets like looking through an Ann Geddes coffee table book. Ooh, isn’t that darling, she’s dressed up as a banana. This spiritually advanced nine-year-old helps me appreciate human innocence. Etc.

It made me almost relieved to hear that a ten-year-old kid was eaten by a crocodile last week when I was in Tortuguero. That way I was at least sure he wouldn’t come up to me and spout enlightening koans or something.

Basically, I think people should read A Catcher in the Rye and perhaps nothing else. I still think my decision to pick up Nine Stories was better than the other option I was considering, which was The Fountainhead. I feel like someday I have to read Ayn Rand to be well-informed, but I really don’t want to. Maybe I will if I’m ever in prison.

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