Sunday, April 20, 2008
Franny and Zooey
More of a play than a novel, Salinger creates two dissatisfied intellectuals and their fall out with convention resulting from their unorthodox education and childhood.
The book is divided into two parts: Franny's shorter section and a much longer section devoted to her older brother, Zooey.
Franny Glass, the youngest child of the fictional upper class New York family, breaks down after spending the weekend with her pretentious boyfriend, Lane. Lane seems to be the face of everything she decides to be wrong with life. Pretense, insincerity, knowledge without wisdom, and ego, ego, ego contrast drastically with a book she stumbled upon in her brother Seymour's room about a pilgrim who discovers how to pray unceasingly. With her own exposure to world religions at an early age, the book's idea takes hold of her and she ends up at her parent's home, crying and muttering to herself.
Zooey Glass, a somewhat successful actor with contradictions of his own, talks his way through helping Franny. Through his monologues, the reader is able to understand the trouble with knowing so much and trying to reconcile it all in order to successfully function in society. The conclusion he reaches isn't exactly tidy or startling, but the arguments that get both of them there are entertaining and provide much to discuss.
Unconventional with its sparse narrative and long-winded conversations, I was surprised by how much I liked this.