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Listening to the Silence

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Karen Maitland
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David Mitchell
Franny and Zooey - J.D. Salinger



That one word can be used to describe my feelings about this book. Nothing happens in this book, yet at the same time everything happens. The book takes place over the course of a single weekend during which Franny Glass has breakdown. Returning home after passing out at a planned outing with her boyfriend, she sinks into a malaise from which her brother Zooey attempts to talk her down. 


As I said it doesn't sound like much, but from the very beginning I knew it was something special. The book is composed of two short stories, or more accurately one short story and one novella, named, one apiece, for each of the title characters, but there really is a lot packed into a few pages making it quite dense and not something you are likely to push through in one afternoon. Salinger relied heavily on dialogue for these two stories and I think going into it as if you are reading a play will help the reader. The conversations between first Franny and her boyfriend Lane, Zooey and his mother, and finally Zooey and Franny, are far ranging and often existential in nature. They discuss everything from the higher education system to the arts, religion, and psychology. I don't think this is a book for everyone, but for me it was perfection.