Monday, 21 July 2008

a perfect day for bananafish

special post celebrating an old classic by salinger that i've managed to track down and return to my library. this is the cover of my copy of  'nine stories', published by 'bantam books' in 1986 in the united states and canada. the cover design is based on typography to answer salinger's explicit demand to avoid the usage of any image or illustration on his book covers.
i bought this copy at the age of 14, and i used it for numerous high school tasks [including book reports]. the highlight task was an audition for the school theater group - me and my best friend at the time prepared a sketch from 'a perfect day for bananafish', spending our afternoons in rehearsals.
my friend used to lie down on the carpet in his parents living room playing the part of seymour, while i was unfortunately playing the part of the innocent three years old Sybil. my role was a bit limited, as all i had to do was to jump around and listen to seymour's famous monologue on the tragic life of the bananafish.
sadly enough, after performing our little interpretation, he was chosen to play in the group, and i had to move on to another school creative activity. though it was an early ending to my career on stage, i've remained a faithful salinger reader. my favorite novel is 'seymour: an introduction' [which undoubtedly deserves {and will get} another post or two].
so, in this steaming july evening i'm copying here some lines from seymour's famous metaphorical tale of the bananafish:

"miss carpenter. please. i know my business," the young man said. "you just keep your eyes open for any bananafish. this is a perfect day for bananafish."
"i don't see any," sybil said.
"that's understandable. their habits are very peculiar." he kept pushing the float. the water was not quite up to his chest. "they lead a very tragic life," he said. "you know what they do, sybil?"
she shook her head.
"well, they swim into a hole where there's a lot of bananas. they're very ordinary-looking fish when they swim in. but once they get in, they behave like pigs. why, i've seen some bananfish to swim into a banana hole and eat as many as seventy-eight bananas." he edged the float and its passenger a foot closer to the horizon. "naturally, after that they're so fat they can't get out of the hole again. can't fit through the door."
"not too far out," sybil said. "what happens to them?"
"what happens to who?"
"the bananafish".
"oh, you mean after they eat so many bananas they can't get out of the banana hole?"
"yes," said sybil.
"well, i hate to tell you, sybil. they die."
"why?" asked sybil.
"well, they get banana fever. it's a terrible disease."

1 comment:

the me said...

I love this story so much..