J.D. Salinger, author of the classic Catcher in the Rye (1951), wrote the stories Franny and Zooey for publication in the New Yorker magazine in 1955 and 1957 respectively. Both stories were part of a series centred around a family of settlers in New York, the Glasses, particularly the children of Les and Bessie Glass, a Jewish-Irish theatrical act. All are brilliant former radio actors. Their eldest child, Seymour, a genius, commits suicide in his thirties. The repercussions to the family of this act provide the unifying theme to the stories. In Franny and Zooey the youngest member of the family, Franny, has a religious and nervous breakdown. She attempts to ward off the meaninglessness of college life by the obsessive repetition of a Jesus prayer. Her brother Zachary (Zooey) rests at nothing in his attempts to restore her sanity. J.D. Salinger wrote the Glass stories, 'It is a long-term project, patently an ambitious one, and there is a real-enough danger, I suppose, that sooner or later I'll bog down, perhaps disappear entirely, in ly own methods, locutions and mannerisms. On the whole, though, I'm very hopeful. I love working on these Glass stories, I've been waiting for them most of my life, and I think I have fairly decent, monomaniacal plans to finish them with due care and all-available skill.'
The author writes: "Franny came out in The New Yorker in 1955, and was swiftly followed, in 1957 by Zooey. Both stories are early, critical entries in a narrative series I'm doing about a family of settlers in twentieth-century New York, the Glasses. It is a long-term project, patently an ambiguous one, and there is a real-enough danger, I suppose that sooner or later I'll bog down, perhaps disappear entirely, in my own methods, locutions, and mannerisms. On the whole, though, I'm very hopeful. I love working on these Glass stories, I've been waiting for them most of my life, and I think I have fairly decent, monomaniacal plans to finish them with due care and all-available skill.
Born in New York in 1919, Jerome David Salinger dropped out of several schools before enrolling in a writing class at Columbia University, publishing his first piece ("The Young Folks") in Story magazine. Soon after, the New Yorker picked up the heralded "A Perfect Day for Bananafish", and more pieces followed, including "Slight Rebellion off Madison" in 1941, an early Holden Caulfield story. Following a stint in Europe for World War II, Salinger returned to New York and began work on his signature novel, 1951's "The Catcher in the Rye," an immediate bestseller for its iconoclastic hero and forthright use of profanity. Following this success, Salinger retreated to his Cornish, New Hampshire, home where he grew increasingly private, eventually erecting a wall around his property and publishing just three more books: "Nine Stories," "Franny and Zooey," "Raise High the Roof Beam, and Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction." Salinger was married twice and had two children. He died of natural causes on January 27, 2010, in New Hampshire at the age of 91.
It's peculiar how no-words can be better than words. How silence can say more than noise, or a person's absence can occupy even more space than their presence did. Suzy is twelve when her best friend, Franny, drowns one summer at the beach. It takes two days for the news to reach Suzy, and it's not something that she can accept: Franny has always been a strong swimmer, from the day they met in swim class when they were just five. How can someone all of a sudden, just no longer be there?Suzy realizes that they must have got it wrong: Franny didn't just drown - she was stung by a poisonous jellyfish. This makes a lot more sense to Suzy's logical mind than a random drowning - cause: a jellyfish sting; effect: death. Suzy's journey to acceptance is quiet - she resolves to either say something important, or say nothing at all. But it's also bursting with bittersweet humour, heart-breaking honesty, big ideas and small details. The Thing About Jellyfish is an astonishing debut novel from Ali Benjamin, and is perfect for fans of Wonder, Counting By 7s and My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece.