Awesome 4th reading. It took me ten sittings or so to finish it this time, which is unusual, but it also gave me time to chew and digest things differently. It was all about religion and Eastern philosophy this time, though I don't have the time or the mood to delve deeper into it. I started a few articles on S. and his religious interests, though. What struck me most, probably, was how wonderful a play this could have been. Think of all that lovely sharp dialogue and the simple yet wonderful setting, plus the minute, vivid description of the Glass's living room - 5 acts tops, if you include both stories.
[ To be totally honest, I cannot see why I was so crazy about Zooey in the first place. I like him, sure, but where did all that infatuation come from? Him being so nice (blunt, yes! but still nice) to Franny? I don't think so. Or so nasty to Bessie? Whatever, I think I might have a thing for Buddy right now. :))]
Definitely my favourite piece of Salinger’s fiction, despite it lacking a plot, as I have read some complain about. Or, should I say, because of it?
For some unknown reason I tend to read the book in winter – I’ve always thought the so-called action of the book takes place in January, but no, it’s November. However, to me it feels like a winter book (sometimes I feel books have their own season) and should be read accordingly. For the same reason The Picture of Dorian Gray
is an autumn book, while On the road
is definitely a summer book.
Well, anyway, I don’t re-read so very often, because most of the times I feel I’m cheating on the new books. But with some of them it’s different, and you get to see everything from a different angle each time. The first two times I focused on Zooey, but this time I got to see Franny more clear. (Don’t worry Zooey darling, you’re still my no 1 crush when it comes to literary characters.)
And since I don’t seem to be saying anything worth reading about the book itself, here’s a paragraph I liked a lot:
"I don't think it would have all got me quite so down if just once
in a while - just once in a while - there was at least some polite little perfunc
tory implication that knowledge should
lead to wisdom
, and that if it doesn't
, it's just a disgusting waste of time! But there never is! You never even hear any hints
dropped on a campus that wisdom is supposed
to be the goal
of knowledge. You hardly ever even hear the word 'wisdom' mentioned! Do you want to hear something funny? Do you want to hear something really funny? In almost four years of college - and this is the absolute truth
- in almost four years of college, the only time I can remember ever even hear
ing the expression 'wise man' being used was in my freshman year, in Political Science! And you know how it was used? It was used in reference to some nice old poopy elder statesman who'd made a fortune in the stock market and then gone to Washington to be an adviser to President Roosevelt. Hon
estly, now! Four years of college, almost! I'm not saying that happens to e
verybody, but I just get so upset
when I think about it I could die."