“Franny and Zooey” and J. D. Salinger
In Pretty Mouth and Green my Eyes, one of the stories from For Esmé with Love and Squalor, Arthur describes himself as ‘a stupid, fouled-up, twentieth-century son of a bitch’. This has been J. D. Salinger’s constant estimate of how people live in modern America. It is possible, naturally, to deploy such an attitude interestingly and uninterestingly in the novel, and he has taken each alternative to its absolute extreme: The Catcher in the Rye is a superb achievement; his latest novel, Franny and Zooey, is sickeningly inept.
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