Wednesday, March 10, 2010
A Perfect Day for Bananafish
J.D. Salinger died soon after the picture above was taken. That's him stopping the release of an unauthorized sequel to Catcher in the Rye. Maybe he hung on for as long as he did because he wanted to make damn sure nobody tampered with his work. He let MGM adapt his short story "Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut" in 1949 and it was a disaster. Salinger was so dissatisfied with the film, released with the title My Foolish Heart, that he never gave up rights to another one of his stories. Wes Anderson brought the Glass family to the big screen, only Anderson changed the name from Glass to Tenenbaum (joke).
Salinger never published another book after 1963's Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters. Neighbors in his hometown of Cornish, New Hampshire described Salinger as acting eccentric and looking unkempt. There's been a fantasy among Salinger fans that after his death someone will turn up a pile of unpublished material in a safe deposit box and we'll finally get to read new stories. Even if unpublished stories do exist, I'll bet Salinger left them with somebody who will keep publishers' grubby hands off. Terrence Malick and Francis Ford Coppola have tried to film Catcher but the movies never got off the ground. Maybe Salinger passed with his writing in a death grip. I hope so, because movies are phony.
Download a PDF of Salinger's short story "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" here: