Did the reclusive J.D. Salinger keep writing about the Glass family even after he last published? Perhaps it sustained him, at times was even a purgative. I knew people who criticized him for cashing in then going all Greta Garbo—I vant to be alone—but it never bothered me. Sometimes you gotta do what you can to maintain the internal peace.
And after the maddening week we’ve had in American politics, reading old Salinger stories was therapeutic for me. Like meeting a sane old friend! And yet—
It had been decades since I read Seymour — An Introduction, and the dun-colored mare of my take is here, but, since I read it oh, so, long ago, in college, there was much more that struck me about Seymour this time through. Especially some of the freaking characters.
I’d forgotten all that.
In a sort of mnemonic homogenization, the blender of memory had turned the story into Buddiness and Seymourness and I forgot the full cast. Including:
His Grandpa Zozo, a Polish-Jewish carnival clown who drove from immense heights to small containers of water.
The woman having an extramarital affair who comes home to find a balloon on her bed.
His brother Waker, “our monk” who practiced juggling cigar boxes.
His mother Bessie, the vaudevillian dancer, who had lost her twin sister in Ireland to “galloping undernutrition,” and for whom “Security, in any form, has had a fatal attraction.”
The New York City police Bessie consulted in finding a haberdasher, presumably in an act of Celtic unity, “since our Bessie, when we were children, habitually took her knottiest problems to the nearest thing we had in New York to a Druidic oracle—the Irish traffic cop.”
And I haven’t really gotten to “Charlotte the harlot” yet.
But once again I’ve run out of time. I’m going to post this, reserving the right to amend it in the next few days—not that the delay will matter to my “readership” as it were. 🙂