Nine Stories



Salingerís second book is a collection of his short stories which he wrote prior to 1953 which were then put into book form. This book was published during a very popular time in Salingerís career. The Catcher in the Rye did not sell well when published and met with mixed reviews, but Nine Stories became a best seller quickly and was a critical success.
Many of the short stories in Nine Stories deal with the Glass family. Salinger has written much about this fictional family, parents who were moderately successful actors, who had a bevy of children who ranged from Seymour, the oldest, who commits suicide in A Perfect Day for Banannafish, Buddy, a younger brother, Franny and Zooey, who have a book devoted entirely to them, and twin brothers about whom less is written. The entire brood grew up as a precocious family that have been described as non conformists by critics. The children were all bright,and in Seymourís case, perhaps too bright. They all served a stint on a tv show for precocious children as they each matured to a point where they could participate.
The book contains two stories without the Glasses as protagonists, De Daumierís Smith Blue Period, and Teddy, in which Salinger tries to show that mysticism may not be the solution to todayís problems. Although Salinger leaves the interpretation to the reader, many critics agree to this premise.
Salinger investigates throughout the stories the attempt to find satori, which translates (as closely as I can best determine) to enlightenment in English. In some cases Salinger lets the character in the story successfully find fulfillment through the mysticism presented. In other stories, the character is not so successful, and at least one story ends with a suicide. Another contains an attempted suicide or murder (I am not sure which takes place), and in another story, a long time friendship breaks down.
This book is one of the lesser know of Salingerís works but contains many of his most critically successful stories.