Nine Stories

By J. D. Salinger

Salinger’s Nine Stories were recommended to me by a couple of English professors; specifically, the short story “A Perfect Day for Bananafish,” which is the first in the collection, came with high praise. After reading all nine, I’m afraid I don’t quite get the hype. Usually, with a highly regarded literary work, I can get a feeling for why the work is considered great just by reading it. However, my general impression of these nine stories is that they are interesting, but not incredible. Each story seems to follow the same formula: very detailed and somewhat absurd or disturbed descriptions of a few scenes containing just a few people (often with a wartime and or mystic theme), and then an off-putting ending (which may have been heavily foreshadowed, or which may come out of left field). Some of the stories are more enjoyable than others. I particularly enjoyed “Teddy,” but I would not say that it ranks highly in my overall reading list. All in all, I’m not sure I would recommend these short stories, but I hope that I get a chance to hear someone who loves them explain them to me so that I might understand them better.