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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Witty, wordy & wonderful
Critically denounced on publication by several eminent commentators of the time (Updike, Didion, etc), Franny and Zooey has, over the past few years, enjoyed something of an academic rehabilitation. (In particular, see Janet Malcolm's excellent article for the New York Review of Books, Volume 48, Number 10 which can be found at www.nybooks.com/articles/14272). The book...
Published on 19 May 2006 by Mrs. A. C. Whiteley

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Franny and Zooey
I am a great fan of J.Salinger, but found this book a little too 'off the wall'.for my taste.
However,I would recommend it to other Salinger fans as they might like it. It is a classic.
Published 4 months ago by Pauline W.


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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Witty, wordy & wonderful, 19 May 2006
By 
Mrs. A. C. Whiteley "AllieW" - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Franny and Zooey (Paperback)
Critically denounced on publication by several eminent commentators of the time (Updike, Didion, etc), Franny and Zooey has, over the past few years, enjoyed something of an academic rehabilitation. (In particular, see Janet Malcolm's excellent article for the New York Review of Books, Volume 48, Number 10 which can be found at www.nybooks.com/articles/14272). The book consists of a short story and novella entitled Franny and Zooey respectively. (They were originally published separately in the New Yorker, two years apart).

`Franny' focuses on a date with her boyfriend Lane, just prior to an American football game he is anxious not to miss. In contrast to the effusive affection expressed in the letter she sent him before this occasion, she finds him increasingly irritating. This is exacerbated by his boasting about his recent Flaubert essay. For his part, Lane cannot understand why she is not eating, nor can he account for her growing nervousness and disengagement. Twice she has to excuse herself, seemingly unwell. It transpires that she has been reading a devotional book entitled `Way of the Pilgrim'. This has inspired her to endlessly repeat the `Jesus Prayer' in the hope of emulating its hero by praying so incessantly that it is as subconscious an act as her heart beating. Indeed, after the second time, she is found collapsed still murmuring the prayer.

The action in `Zooey' takes place just a few days later. Franny has returned home to recuperate. Zooey, Franny's elder brother, has been enjoying a leisurely soak while rereading a four-year-old letter from his brother, Buddy (who is also the absent narrator). Quite preachy, it exhorts him to better appreciate their mother, Bessie, and explains part of the reason for the family difficulty in coping with other people. (All seven of the children had been precocious prodigies and had featured regularly on the radio quiz show `The Wise Child'). Just after he completes his reading, his mother bursts in. Concerned about Franny, she nags him to talk to her. Eventually, having shaved and dressed, he agrees. Finding that his hectoring tone and insensitivity (unsurprisingly) are upsetting her, he apologises and leaves the room. Seeking inspiration, perhaps, he enters his brother Seymour's room (who had committed suicide some years before). Using the private phone, he calls Franny, pretending to be Buddy, and tries again. This second attempt appears to be effective.

Throughout both pieces, Salinger never falters in his attention to detail. It feels filmic (in point of fact, the narrator describes it as a `home movie'). The realistic dialogue, though dated, is snappy and sprinkled with humour. Characterization, too, is very strong: these people are almost tangible.

Owing to its short length, it would be easy to read this in one evening. One word of caution, however: this is a book to be savoured, both for its language and for its ideas. The issues it highlights are thought provoking and intriguing and it is worth taking one's time over. Further, it naturally lends itself to repeated re-reading - a rare quality indeed. This purchase will repay your investment one thousand-fold: it is emphatically not a read and ditch novel (although you may well wish to acquire copies for your friends). Not often do you get an opportunity to pick up such a well-crafted work of art for so little money. Seize this one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Salinger's witty, deft dealing with humanity, 17 Feb 2009
This review is from: Franny and Zooey (Paperback)
How can one pin down the ouevre of such an elusive and enigmatic writer as JD Salinger?

'Franny and Zooey' is composed of a short story and a novella - both exquisitely wrought and complementing each other - concerning the existential crisis and emotional breakdown of Franny Lane, the youngest of seven precociously talented and intelligent children.

'Franny' - the short story - brilliantly depicts the young woman's date with her pompous boyfriend, and already the themes that one would expect from Salinger's teasing, tantalising portion of published works are visible: existential anxiety over what exactly is 'fitting in,' the words and actions of the 'phonies' and how they impact on sensitive people such as Franny.

'Zooey', whilst still being concerned with Franny, portrays her brother's growing concern over his younger sister, who has taken to moping around the house in an emotional lethargy following her nervous episode documented in `Franny'. Zooey, at the rather comic instigation of his mother while he is having a bath, realises that he must help her get over it all in some way, though until the end of the story, doesn't seem to know how to. It is a beautifully-measured novella which takes its time, and reveals through its inaction rather than action.

Both pieces are witty, wordy and brilliantly realised. What I particularly enjoy is how engaging Salinger's style is, how he can deal with important themes relating to humanity and the individual's place within it, with the greatest and ease and enjoyment on the part of the reader. Indeed, many people have commented on the underlying allusions to Zen Buddhism and other spiritualism: huge themes that are dealt with in a wryly understated and very human fashion.

As such, when Salinger arrives at some sort of denouement or conclusion, it hits and resonates, as it does with 'Franny and Zooey,' with huge emotional impact.

This is a book to be savoured, to be enjoyed for its great dialogue, its perfectly profound realism and its humanity. That is, possibly, where one can recognise Salinger's greatness.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indulgent yet perfect, 17 Oct 2006
This review is from: Franny and Zooey (Paperback)
Salinger described this as a "pretty flimsy book". The vast majority of writers out there should be so lucky if they can write something as wonderful as this. The attention to detail lays a spell over me every time I read this book, which I have done on a regular basis for the past fifteen or so years. It is incredibly indulgent; the decription of the Glass living room is little more than an artsy list, yet it's so wonderfully delivered that you are right there, staring at the root beer stain from behind the couch. The three characters; the frail, needy Franny (a fifties version of Charlotte in Lost in Translation), acrid, hyper-critical Zooey, and their irrepressible mother deserve each other in more ways than one. Basically, it's crunch time in the young life of Franny Glass, who has found that she cannot cope outside the cosy, intellectual confines of her own family, with more than one ghost, one of whom (Buddy) is still alive, yet seems more intent in lecturing them from beyond the metaphorical grave of his cabin in the back of beyond. In an effort to counter the "phonies" at college, she has taken to a sort of ascetic lifestyle, the focal point of which is a spiritual book, revolving around an endlessly recited prayer. Both brother and mother callously try to bludgeon this out of her, one with kind offers of chicken broth, and the other, with long, detailed critiques of her methods. The poor girl copes in the only way she can; by crying lots and blowing her nose. But you learn a vast amount about this family, and you discover they are not so eccentric as their methods and choices of self-expression might at first suggest. In short, both brother and sister discover something, and it's more than worth discovering along with them. There are many great books, but there are no books like Franny and Zooey, and there won't be again. Catcher was his greatest achievement, without a doubt, but I prefer this book. Although, these days, I seem to side more and more with the mother!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful and entertaining work, 7 Jun 2000
This review is from: Franny and Zooey (Paperback)
The first thirty or so pages of Zooey are the most beautiful and amazing peice of prose i have eveer read . The style of writting and warmth of characters is a joy to read and then read again . Salinger has a wit and understanding of the English language that is so often forgotten with alot of the comtempary fiction . Here is a craftsman who leaves the reader with a sense of wonderment .
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do it for the Fat Lady, 3 May 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Franny and Zooey (Paperback)
This is the book that proves just how big an author J D Salinger is - and he's massive. Catcher in the Rye, marvellous though it is, almost seems a footnote when weighed against the majesty of the Glass Family stories. I'm mixing metaphors here, but life is short so let's crack on. I've read Franny & Zooey many times (well, I'm certainly into double figures anyway) because I tend to indulge in a Salinger Festival every few years and read all his books in one glorious binge. Franny & Zooey is his best. It's funny, tender, intensely moving and has a warmth that is almost spiritual. I hesitate to use the term 'chicken soup for the soul' but that's the kind of effect it has on me. The last few pages of Zooey are some of the most beautiful I've ever read (I rank them alongside the closing paragraphs of Gatsby and On the Road to name but two - make of that what you will) and it never fails to put a spring in my step. It's books like Franny & Zooey that make life worth living, frankly.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully descriptive, 11 April 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Franny and Zooey (Paperback)
I actually read this before 'Catcher..' and I think I even prefer it, especially Zooey, he seems far more of a cynic and definitely more suited to my age. I'd describe it as 'Catcher..' for grown ups- and no, not much happens in it, but that's life isn't it? It's also inspired me to find 'Way of the Pilgrim'.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a short and sharp way to expand your thinking, 14 Jun 2007
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This review is from: Franny and Zooey (Paperback)
this book is an excellent book about everything and nothing the families interactions and comic or tragic short comings are wonderful to read and the philosophical discourse colors the story wonderfuly.

i can recommend it came as a surprise as how good it was as many authors from the same time haven't stood up to the test of time well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars there are beautiful things in this world, buddy, 22 May 2011
This review is from: Franny and Zooey (Paperback)
I love this book, have indeed loved it for a very long time, ever since I bought it from a flea marked when I was 19. I read it in a mood of feeling lost and lonely, just when I had left home for universitiy, and hadn't settled in yet. I dare say it changed my life, though that phrase seems cheap and inappropriate. But it somehow helped me settling in with myself and the adult life waiting for me. Since then I have reread that novel for about a dozen times, and it never fails to move me. I'm not the most spiritual person, but the thought of the fat lady comforts me .
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Way of a Pilgrim, 25 Nov 2010
This review is from: Franny and Zooey (Paperback)
'Franny' and 'Zooey' are a pair of interconnected short stories by JD Salinger. Franny and Zooey Glass are sister and brother respectively. Now both in early adulthood the Glass children are struggling to make sense of the adult world and finding it a hostile place. 'Franny' describes Franny Glass' breakdown while out on a date with her college boyfriend, Lane. 'Zooey' takes up the story from her brothers point of view as the Glass family seek to understand what has actually happened to Franny.

One of the motifs of the stories is celebrity. As we are reminded throughout the story 'Zooey' the Glass children are former child stars who once featured in a now defunct radio show called 'It's a Wise Child' An ironic title, perhaps, when we ponder Franny's fate and we also learn that two of the Glass children are now dead. Seymour Glass, having committed suicide. Zooey is also now a handsome young television star in his mid twenties. Evident in the story is also JD Salinger's increasing interest in mysticism. The novella abounds with reference to the Upanishads, the Diamond Sutra and Eckhart. Just prior to her breakdown Franny has become obsessed with the notion of continuous prayer and a mystical Russian text called 'The Way of a Pilgrim'

Both stories make for interesting reading and they are exactly what one might expect from the author of 'Catcher in the Rye' in that they depict the lives of young adults and how they find the adult world lacking. Indeed, when Zooey describes his sister's boyfriend as a 'charm boy and a fake' it could indeed be Holden himself speaking. I greatly enjoyed finding out what Salinger did next after his big hit and 'Franny' and 'Zooey' both provide an interesting insight into their author's state of mind and they speak convincingly-especially through the character of Franny- of the pressures attendant on being young.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Franny and Zooey- J.D Salinger's finest works., 2 Nov 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Franny and Zooey (Paperback)
Franny and Zooey are by far my favourite Salinger stories, partly because i find myself hopelessly identifying with Franny, and partly because i may be in love with Zooey (make what you will of that incestuous arrangement!)For me, Salinger's greatest achievement and the very thing that allows this book to triumph over The Catcher In The Rye, is his achingly beautiful and sensitive response to religion and spirituality. The Glass family are an extrememly loveable alternative to Holden Caulfield's cynicism, but lack none of the cutting, brilliant observations that we associate with him. In Franny and Zooey, Salinger chooses to address a far more complex issue than adolescence, (although this in there too) and entrances the reader with a tale of emotional breakdown and the path to happiness through spiritual enlightenment and self realisation. Thanks to Salinger's unique view of life, this is possibly the most educational book i have ever read. Not only this, but it is beautifully written, whilst remaining entertaining and extremely funny in parts. If you are unsure about buying this book my advice would be to BUY IT NOW! And if you don't laugh, cry, and at somepoint thank GOD (aloud) for Salinger, the Glass family and the Fat Lady, then maybe Salinger just isn't the author for you...
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Franny e Zooey
Franny e Zooey by Salinger J. D. (Paperback - 1979)
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