|American novelist, J.D. Salinger (1919-2010)|
May it be Holden Caulfield from 'The catcher in the rye' or the members of the Glass family from 'Franny and Zooey', Salinger's characters share a disillusionment about the world they live in surrounded by 'phony' adults. Every character in Salinger's book is not your regular, conformist, loveable or (hate-able for that matter) character and they are often hard to relate too. You either love them or you don't. Period.
After being completely smitten by Salinger's controversial book 'The catcher in the rye', I was interested in exploring his other works. Franny and Zooey, a popular hit amongst this writer's fans proved to be a complex piece of work bearing the authors distinguished style of writing.
It's a hard read but at the end, its worth it. Its not a plot-driven novel, instead it is fueled by lengthy dialogues that sometime stretch to pages. In this novel, Salinger's gift of eloquent and real dialogues is exposed in all its brilliance. The dialogues are sharp, witty, honest and never boring. This is real writing in my opinion. Not a word more or a word less.
While reading this book you get a feeling of being trapped in the freakish world of the Glass family where frustrations, contradictions and a sense of loss run high. You are absorbed into unusual settings where intense conversations take place between the main characters. Franny is the perfectly written first chapter in the book which introduces us to a pretty college student Franny Glass who is on the brink of an emotional and spiritual collapse.
"It's everybody, I mean. Everything everybody does is so--I don't know--not wrong, or even mean, or even stupid, necessarily. But just so tiny and meaningless--and sad-making. And the worst part is, if you go bohemian or something crazy like that, you're conforming just as much as everybody else, only in a different way."-Franny
However, the reasons for her world rejecting attitude and breakdown are fully revealed in the second and last chapter of the book Zooey. Here, we see Franny's older brother, Zooey's morbidity and humor, his sense of being doomed by their elder brothers and enlightenment.
"We're freaks, that's all. Those two bastards got us nice and early and made us into freaks with freakish standards, that's all. We're the tattooed lady, and we're never going to have a minute's peace, the rest of our lives, until everybody else is tattooed, too."-Zooey
I was gripped by Franny in the beginning only to see Zooey steal the spotlight and be captivated by his perspectives deeper into the book.
The book is perceived by some as a religious novel, however in the words of the narrator, this offering is '... a compound, a multiple, love story, pure and complicated.' This is J.D. Salinger at his best.