I just finished reading J.D. Salinger's novel Franny and Zooey. It was amazing! This book was given to me by a good friend, whose blog you should all check out. Up til then, I had only read The Catcher in the Rye, which I also absolutely love. But now having read Franny and Zooey, I have to concur with my friend, and say that this novel outshines! Here's why:
These characters are utterly memorable and unique. I'm not sure I've read more casually irreverent, yet truly heroic characters. In Salinger's narrative, the little things coalesce to form a whole impression. I love how he is constantly augmenting the dialogues of his characters with inane actions. For example, almost everybody in this novel is a chain smoker, and they're always lighting up or tapping the ends of their cigarette butts or brushing tobacco flakes from their laps. The way they hold their cigarette or drag on it or fumble with their book of matches reflects their moods and mental outlook. Another example is how Salinger focuses on the household pets, like Bloomberg, the cat, or Zooey's black mollies which he says are "dying off" in the fish tank in the living room. Somehow the pets seem almost like omniscient onlookers in the settings in this book. What a terribly minor thing, yet without these details, I don't know that the narrative would be so rich! In a former post, I mentioned this attention to detail and how important it is for narrative. I can't think of a more fitting case study for this type of thing, than Salinger's fictional prose! Go on! Check it out!