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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Franny and Zooey (1961) by J.D. Salinger

The bathtub scene in the The Royal Tenenbaums owes an obvious creative debt to a similar scene in Franny and Zooey (1961) by J.D. Salinger.

Book Review
Franny and Zooey (1961)
by J.D. Salinger

  Not having read Franny and Zooey, I was surprised to read a short story + novella book that immediately brought to mind the Wes Anderson film, The Royal Tenenbaums.  Franny and Zooey is a short story (Franny) and a novella (Zooey) both published in the New Yorker, about two siblings in the Glass family, who, for all intents and purposes, might as well be the Tenenbaums of the film.  Among the many other resemblances is a sequence in Zooey where he (Franny is a girl, Zooey is a boy) has a fraught conversation in a bathtub with his mother, mirroring the conversation between Margot Tennenbaum and her mom in The Royal Tenenbaums.

  I understand that the Glass family was a frequent subject of Salinger's short fiction, basically the subject of all of his works that weren't The Catcher in the Rye.  Their intellectualism and neuroses would carry the day in 1960s and 70s popular culture, even as Salinger retreated from the spot light and literally refused to write.

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