Beyond My Reach

Montreal Flickr Meet. Jan. 21, 2006 — My Vision
Originally uploaded by Sol Lang

I finished Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger, and when I left you, dear reader, I had read only read four of the nine, and was still split on whether I liked J.D. Salinger as a writer, or whether I just enjoyed some of his stories.

“Down at the Dinghy” – a cute story. Plenty of sentimental value, very little action. I could take it or leave it, personally.

“For Esme – with Love and Squalor” – I adored this! It was lengthy, true, but it alludes to childhood and adulthood, and that odd transition phase in between. It deals with the dirty side of war, how it feels to have your memory of someone being the only thing keeping you sane (and never telling that person). It is about a gentleman in the army, a young girl who is impeccibly wise, and the things that stay with you when the person leaves. I admire Salinger for making the Army gent a real person by not giving him a name. After all, what is in a name? I shall fondly carry memories of Seargent X and Esme with me, with this now being my favorite short story.

 “Pretty Mouth and Green My Eyes” – I didn’t much care for this story. It is a phone conversation between two lawyers, and I found it neither quotable or admirable.

“De Daumier-Smith’s Blue Period” – I am very, very torn on this one. It was terribly, noticibly lengthy for starters. Simply put, an art teacher (and possible alcoholic, hired under false pretenses) expresses his unease with his higher up and his frustration with his talentless students and their mediocre work. He does evetually fall in love with a watercolor done by a faceless nun, and he wonders if he has fallen in love with her as well. You could cut this story right in half and only gain value.

 Oy vey…. I just did a tally, and I’m still split right down the middle on this! It is up to Teddy…

“Teddy” – a ten-year-old genius discusses his philosophy on life, the universe and everything with a fellow stranger, a grad student. The story ends harshly, abruptly, memorably. Its the kind of story you finish and can quote exactly how you felt when you read that last word, even twenty years later. This is the kind of story I love.


it is official, dear readers: with a majority rule, I have come to the conclusion that I enjoy J.D. Salinger as a writer and not just some of his work. I feel much better now, which is quite unnerving: it means I got myself all worked up over such a decision. I suppose I can sleep soundly tonight, dear readers.

Published in: on February 23, 2008 at 11:33 am  Leave a Comment  

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