Having watched another brilliant clinbthestacks video about Salinger's writing, I felt it was high time I had a go at his books for myself. I intended to go for his most famous work, The Catcher in the Rye, first of all, but they didn't have it in my local library. In fact, they only had one of his books, which I quickly snapped up (though I had to get it out on my brother's card as being disorganised and abroad has caused me to lose mine...). The book is:
Franny and Zooey
Literary fiction (I guess...)
A two-part novella (it feels too short to be a full novel anyway) about a girl (Franny)'s sort of nervous breakdown and her brother (Zooey)'s interractions with her.
I'm not very happy with the summary above, because I really don't feel like it captures this book at all, but hey ho. The story is really not plot-driven, focussing almost entirely on the characters' interactions instead. I liked the way the speech was written with italics for emphasis on certain syllables, so I could practically hear the characters in my head. I thought that technique, along with the use of slang, really brought the characters' idiosyncrasies to the fore and made them feel real. I can sort of see how some people might find the characters irritating, but in the same way that some real people are annoying, and not because the characters are badly written.
The main impression I got from the writing was that it wasn't trying to be anything specific. I'm not sure how true that is, or if that's the impression everyone would get (or even if this makes any sense!). But to me it just felt like the story was not trying to fit into a specific mould or follow an existing pattern.
Though I did enjoy the book, I still couldn't shake the feeling that there was something I didn't quite 'get' about it. This made it difficult to actually know what I thought of the book until a couple of days after I'd finished it. I suppose it just needed time to digest.
After spending the whole book feeling unsure of what I thought about it, I did end up liking the book. I was left feeling like I'd just dipped into a much bigger story, and I was glad to hear that Salinger wrote more about the Glass family. I couldn't help wanting to know more about them.
What did you think of Franny and Zooey? How did you find Salinger's writing style? Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments.