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For Esme—With Love and Squalor, and Other Stories

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  138,153 ratings  ·  4,553 reviews
Nine Stories (1953) is a collection of short stories by American fiction writer J. D. Salinger published in April 1953. It includes two of his most famous short stories, "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" and "For Esmé – with Love and Squalor". (Nine Stories is the U.S. title; the book is published in many other countries as For Esmé - with Love and Squalor, and Other Stories. ...more
Paperback, 149 pages
Published by Penguin Books Ltd (first published April 6th 1953)
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Niki I’d recommend you read Franny and Zooey, I think they are all connected because some of the nine stories are about the Glass family who is also the fa…moreI’d recommend you read Franny and Zooey, I think they are all connected because some of the nine stories are about the Glass family who is also the family in question in F&Z! Maybe that will give you another perspective:)(less)

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Aug 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to brian by: david
i know of three people who are totally obsessed with j.d. salinger:

john hinckley
mark david chapman
goodreads david

i know of four reasons why i (must) love this book:

1) because i don't want to see a list that looks like this:

ronald reagan
john lennon
goodreads brian

2) because in the early 80s salinger was a huge fan of the sitcom mr. merlin which was based on the premise -- wait for it… wait for it... -- that merlin (yeah, that merlin) is alive and well in san francisco and working as a mechanic.
Jul 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If I can get serious for a moment, and cast aside the brittle, smartassed, persona that the social networking aspect of goodreads tends to bring out, I'd like to try to express what it is that drives me in this life. It is the following belief, instilled primarily by my mother, an exceptionally smart woman who never suffered fools gladly, but had the mitigating grace to be one of the warmest, most generous women you could ever hope to meet, as well as having one of the greatest voices you can im ...more
This is as good of a short story collection that one could hope to find. Salinger was a heck of a writer, certainly well known for his classic, The Catcher in the Rye, but there is much more out there, like this little jewel for example. I give this 5 stars on the strength of two stories alone, but they all were good. The two stories I mention are A Perfect Day for Bananafish, and For Esme - With Love And Squalor. Both have themes involving troubled soldiers returning from World War II. Salinger ...more
Paul Bryant
Jun 10, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
If kidnappers had snatched up J D Salinger some time in the early 1970s, driven like madmen through the night and the next day too and imprisoned him in a small but pleasant room somewhere near Boise, furnished him with with all mod cons, and told him he wasn't going anyplace soon until he'd finished at the very least another nine stories, and at best three or four complete novels; and if the kidnappers - due to an endearing cocktail of naivete and compassion (because you know they were just lit ...more
“Each of his phrases was rather like a little ancient island, inundated by a miniature sea of whiskey.”

Oh Mr. Salinger, why couldn’t you have published more of these amazing stories in your life time???


Nine Stories -- a collection of brilliant short stories from J.D. Salinger. It is in this collection where the Glass family, the main constituents of Franny and Zooey, is first introduced. In the next eight stories, we meet and get to know characters with an assortment of menta
If I were more put together, I’d have nine tiny one-sentence reviews for this and talk about each story, but I’m not, and so as is it’s a miracle that I have any notes on it at all and also am writing this less than three months after reading it.

I always know if I REALLY like a book that is of VERY high quality if it makes me miss being in literature classes. This one, for example, made me desperately wish I were in one so I could debate “Pretty Mouth and Green My Eyes” for at LEAST one million
Nine Stories by J.D Salinger "There are nine deep, enigmatic narratives. It is always about the motives of childlike innocence, the adult world and the invaders of war in the lives of individuals and the isolation of a traumatized man. I was surprised that some stories bored me, although literary quality can be no doubt. Salinger's dialogues are fabulous, the course of the stories consistent. It's the portrait of an absolutely static Society.

Mar 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of rainy days, Belle and Sebastian and Wes Anderson
Salinger's "Nine Stories" should be renamed "How to Write Short Stories." While many hold up "Catcher in the Rye" as the zenith of his achievements for me it will always be this wistful and brave little book. I re-read it two or three times or year. I love it that much.

To be honest out of the nine stories collected here I would say that only a third are Salinger's best. "Perfect Day for Banafish," "For Esme - With Love and Squalor," and "The Laughing Man" are to me the peaks of short fiction. E
Adverbs. It's all because of adverbs that I read this collection. I asked a wonderful teacher of mine about adverbs (whether to use them, and all that), and the main gist of his answer was: "Read Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger. He's the master of the adverb."

Good lord, he is. The almost 200 page collection is positively (see what I did there?) LITTERED with them. One beautifully (ha!) placed adverb after the next. In one paragraph I counted five. Five gorgeous adverbs in a single, solitary paragr
I was sitting at my cube farm today, moving numbers from one spreadsheet to another, cursing the internet tracking that keeps me from daytime Goodreading and daydreaming of pixies and unicorns when I received an email from my wife that utterly rocked my world. ":( Salinger's dead," read the short missive, and with that my world grew a little more gray. Normally news of celebrity death does little but placate my immense Schadenfreude, but Salinger's death is a serious blow to me and I feel compel ...more
Nov 06, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories, 2013
Didnt enjoy any of the short stories and didnt enjoy getting to know the characters in any.
Seemed to have a theme of wealthy people in solitude in someway or another.
Nov 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Rocky Dennis in Heaven
Recommended to Mariel by: the girl from back then
It has been a long time since I read Nine Stories. For once I don't care about getting older. This wasn't about that. So I started rereading Nine Stories in my car on my work lunch breaks. Getting through the day necessities stuff. I really needed an old friend. I was at a loss in a bad depths of despair kinda way that I cannot put in a meaningful way that will mean shit to anyone else. I remembered Nine Stories was good to me. I'm in no mood for anything more than that. Friends.

This probably wo
Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)
This is one of "those" books. The ones where I turn the final page and sigh and wonder how I can convince other people that it's worth reading. Consider this: There are 30,520 ratings for this book here on Good Reads. The average of all those ratings is 4.18. Nothing I could say would be more convincing than that. Read it and marvel.

My two favorite stories are For Esme--With Love and Squalor, and Down at the Dinghy. I think I liked these best because I love the way Salinger writes about childre
Emily B
May 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read any Salinger in many years and this was on my shelf for over a year before I actually read it. I'm so glad I finally picked it up.

Each story was a good length, entertaining and clever. Overall these were my kinds of short stories
I also liked how they related to Salingers other work including Franny and Zooey
Feb 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading this short story collection helps me to understand why Salinger was hounded to the ends of the earth in an effort to make him write again. His characters are so poignant and so real; his children so precocious and on the brink of something wholly indefinable.

I bought the book with a desire to revisit For Esme - With Love And Squalor and found it as captivating and moving as I had remembered, but the unexpected treasures of The Laughing Man and Teddy left me breathless. Salinger knows co
Apr 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A slightly mixed bag of stories with some gems among them, notably A Perfect Day for Bananafish and, especially, Teddy. All the stories, even when I didn’t love them, had small moments of either brilliance or craziness. And Salinger was a master of the quirky, zany dialogue full of 50s slang, non sequiturs and sarcastic repartees. There were laugh-out-loud moments, there were bizarre moments where I had no idea what he was on about, there was hyperbole galore, and there was much of the 1940s swa ...more
Steven Godin
I was surprised by just how good some of these stories turned out to be, after not getting my hopes up for anything that special. And as a fan of the short-stories of John Cheever, Raymond Carver, and Richard Yates, Salinger sits in this company pretty well, in creating brief snapshots of life that capture glittering sharp moments, generally focusing on adults encountering overly aware, truth-telling children. The heart of each story is set to the beat of its characters accounts of the way in w ...more
Jan 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not being too fond of Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye – and having, in fact, a vivid recollection of me chucking it after about a 100 pages into a far-flung, dusty corner out of sheer tedium in high school (reading assignments are hemlock for stubborn minds) - I wasn’t particularly looking forward to his short story collection. Would it just be an assortment of variations on Holden Caulfield? I feared the worst.

Boy was I happy to be proven wrong. Talk about rising to low expectations, huh? How I

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Most of these stories make a statement (or two, or more) about how our past, and our interactions with each other, affect our lives. I had this feel that in some way, the stories represented our disconnections from one another, from reality, and from full knowledge; the slippery grasp we have of our perceptions, and our tendency to judge too quickly.

Salinger often gets this across through arresting dialogue among individuals, typically with at least one of the individuals in some way being
Feb 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-short
This is my 3rd read of this short story collection. Anyone who knows me well knows that Salinger is my be all, end all. I have a complete and passionate bias. This collection of 9 short stories were written in the 5-10 years following WWII and most were originally published in the leading magazines of the day. They are a true time capsule of post-war life in the late-1940s, early-1950s, and you can't hardly read them without a cigarette in one hand and a highball in another. What is brilliant, a ...more
Jan 31, 2021 rated it really liked it
Hadn't read this one in years and had completely forgotten at least two stories, plus the fact that every tale is in large part about estrangement and fraudulence. Bananafish and the title story are still extraordinary -- and still impossible to fathom in terms of just how they work their magic.

''The worst that being an artist could do to you would be that it would make you slightly unhappy constantly. However, this is not a tragic situation, in my opinion. The happiest day of my life was many y
Matthew Quann
Like many people, my first exposure to Salinger was Catcher in the Rye discussed in a high school class with unenthusiastic students. I remember the book polarizing the class, and I was firmly on the side of our boy Holden Caulfield being an overall turd and obnoxious narrator. Looking back on that experience, I felt like I had missed out on enjoying some part of important literature. When I came across Nine Stories in a Michael Chabon novel, I decided to dip my toes back into Salinger's limited ...more
Jul 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger

It’s so silly. All you do is get the heck out of your body when you die. My gosh, everybody’s done it thousands and thousands of times.
- The character Teddy McArdle

The quality of the writing in this collection of stories is impeccable. Published nearly seventy years ago, these nine stories have aged little with the passage of time. All the stories are about adolescence or life as a young adult post WWII. Many of the stories seem semi auto-biographical as well.

Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Over the past year or so, I have re-read (50 years apart) all four of Salinger's most famous published works. This is my most recent. It consists of nine brilliant stories, the most famous of which are "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" and "For Esme--with Love and Squalor." They are wonderful, but I must say that my favorites are "DeDaumier-Smith's Blue Period" and "The Laughing Man", both of which are unforgettable. J. D. Salinger is one of the great American writers of the 20th century and his bo ...more
I took 4 days to read this thin book, not because I didn't get enough time, but because all the nine stories had such an engrossing impact on me. Every time I finished reading a story, I'd HAVE to set the book aside and think about what just happened there. Every time it was like a big blow inside my head that'd block all other thoughts for some time, all but one.
I usually don't prefer short stories because I enjoy my reading mostly when I get a feeling that I know each and every character in an
Barry Pierce
Sep 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Salinger is great isn't he? Ever since my initial reading and love affair with "Catcher" three summers ago I've been meaning to read more of his work. I liked this collection of nine stories. My favourites? A Perfect Day for Bananafish, Down at the Dinghy, For Esmé - With Love and Squalor, De Daumier-Smith's Blue Period, and, of course, Teddy. The others were good but just... forgettable. If you enjoyed Catcher then read this! ...more
Patricia Nedelea
Spotless short stories. Perfectly constructed, not even a single extra word. And they fit perfectly together.
Andrew Smith
Jan 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
To me, short stories always feel like sampling the chef’s taster menu – afterward I never feel fully sated and just wish I could have had more of the courses I liked the most. It’s set of appetisers without the satisfaction of a full meal. That said there was a lot here to admire and enjoy.

Even a minimal amount of research on Salinger throws up the fact that as a GI in World War 2 he was traumatised by the Battle of the Bulge and Nazi concentration camps. So, it’s not surprising to see this refl
Apr 17, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
3.5 Stars
Some stories were amazing, like the first story and that ending of it.. written so calmly that it shocks.
Some were good and some just felt dated
Keyo Çalî
Nine stories
Perhaps there is a Secret in this book
That is why I need to re-read it
but later

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Jerome David Salinger was an American author, best known for his 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye, as well as his reclusive nature. His last original published work was in 1965; he gave his last interview in 1980. Raised in Manhattan, Salinger began writing short stories while in secondary school, and published several stories in the early 1940s before serving in World War II. In 1948 he publishe ...more

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