If ever a book encouraged you to smoke and blaspheme then JD Salinger’s Franny and Zooey would probably be the one. Like I don’t use ‘goddamn’ as an adjective enough (goddamn work, the goddamn train, I can’t I’ve got goddamn personal training…), the pages of this 2-story novella are riddled with the word – it clearly being a familial verbal tick of the characters in it. I’m sure since reading it I have stepped up on the ‘goddamns’, being the sort of person who tends to merge words she hears or reads in concentrated spasms into her own vocabulary. And the smoking! There is never a moment when a character isn’t lighting up, stubbing out, inhaling, exhaling or opening another packet of tobacco sticks. This novella is rife with puffing.
A recent book group selection (along with Nabokov’s Pnin in what I liked to call a novella smackdown) Franny and Zooey was a favourite of everyone who read it. There’s something about that Glass family. And if ever you were a writer wanting to know how to write realistic, interesting, endearing, funny, insightful, domestic-based but world-focused dialogue which can sometimes seem like just talk but propels you through a story, and on many levels is a little too deep to even scuba down into but you still appreciate it for that, then for god’s sake read Franny and Zooey.
D is our next letter and as previosuly reported it stands for dystopia, being proudly represented by Sarah Hall’s Carhullan Army.