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Nine Stories Paperback – January 30, 2001
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The war hangs over these wry stories of loss and occasionally unsuppressed rage. Salinger's children are fragile, odd, hypersmart, whereas his grownups (even the materially content) seem beaten down by circumstances--some neurasthenic, others (often female) deeply unsympathetic. The greatest piece in this disturbing book may be "The Laughing Man," which starts out as a man's recollection of the pleasures of storytelling and ends with the intersection between adult need and childish innocence. The narrator remembers how, at nine, he and his fellow Comanches would be picked up each afternoon by the Chief--a Staten Island law student paid to keep them busy. At the end of each day, the Chief winds them down with the saga of a hideously deformed, gentle, world-class criminal. With his stalwart companions, which include "a glib timber wolf" and "a lovable dwarf," the Laughing Man regularly crosses the Paris-China border in order to avoid capture by "the internationally famous detective" Marcel Dufarge and his daughter, "an exquisite girl, though something of a transvestite." The masked hero's luck comes to an end on the same day that things go awry between the Chief and his girlfriend, hardly a coincidence. "A few minutes later, when I stepped out of the Chief's bus, the first thing I chanced to see was a piece of red tissue paper flapping in the wind against the base of a lamppost. It looked like someone's poppy-petal mask. I arrived home with my teeth chattering uncontrollably and was told to go straight to bed." --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Salinger's skillful use of language is what distinguishes him most from his contemporaries. There is never a dull moment in a Salinger short story as this expert author intertwines detail and dialogue to convey emotion to the reader.
Although the short story leaves little room for character development, Salinger's superb style and careful use of language allow us to get to know his characters intimately in a very short period of time.
The stories included in Salinger's dazzling collection, Nine Stories, were published between 1948 and 1953 in The New Yorker.
They exhibit a unified tone and theme, something not usually found in short story collections. They are classic Salinger and classic stories; each one contributes to the volume as a whole and each is therefore enriched in its relation to the others.
Although people disagree on which story is best, each contains elements of the relationship between children and adults, one of Salinger's signature themes.
Two of the stories, A Perfect Day for Bananafish and For Esmé--With Love and Squalor, both feature protagonists (Seymour and Sargent X) who, as veterans of WWII, have sacrificed their psychological well-being and are no longer the men they once thought they were. Both feel alienated from life and, more importantly, from those they love.Read more ›
"The most singular difference between happiness and joy is that happiness is a solid and joy a liquid," notes the narrator of the most liquid story in this collection, "De Daumier-Smith's Blue Period." It seems to me that line is a key for understanding Salinger's unique approach, as well as why so many people are put off by him.
Salinger's fiction doesn't read like anyone else's, especially when you move beyond "Catcher." "Nine Stories" is the most mainstream, and also most engaging and best-written, example of his Zen approach to fiction, both in substance and form. He was more interested in communicating feelings and inner perceptions than plots or even ideas, and this liquidity feels somehow wrong in the light of stories we usually read.
But these stories actually work quite well, not just in isolation but in tandem. The first and the last story, "A Perfect Day For Bananafish" and "Teddy," play off each other, a senseless death in one story being explained by the patient, precocious narrator in the other.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
ANOTHER REREADABLE COLLECTION BY SALINGER, A TRULY WONDERFUL AUTHOR OF THE 20TH CENTURYPublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Salinger, as appreciated as he is, is not appreciated enough. An American giant.Published 1 month ago by DaleC
Great book. I got this book and could not put it down the first couple days I received this book. Absolutely fantastic book and would definitely recommend this to anyone.Published 3 months ago by Stephanie M.
Why oh why don't publishers get smart and convert these classics to ebooks? As a publisher, I know it's not an expensive process, and young readers will want that option. Read morePublished 4 months ago by GraceP
I first read this forty-eight years ago. As a youth, while I had not been enamored with "Catcher in the Rye", I was quite taken with "Franny and Zooey" and with... Read morePublished 4 months ago by R. M. Peterson
A lot of great stories, especially at the beginning. Some were just okay, but most of them were great.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
I'm a sucker for anything by JD Salinger. This, like his other works, is dear to my heart. I've read the stories over and over again. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Bussell