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A Perfect Day for Bananafish

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  8,689 ratings  ·  303 reviews
"A Perfect Day for Bananafish" is a short story by J. D. Salinger, originally published in the January 31, 1948 issue of The New Yorker. It was anthologized in 1949's 55 Short Stories from The New Yorker, as well as in Salinger's 1953 collection, Nine Stories. ...more
18 pages
Published (first published 1948)
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Katherine Vitale No, it's about a man with PTSD after fighting in WWII.…moreNo, it's about a man with PTSD after fighting in WWII.(less)

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Salida
Feb 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Let's get one thing straight, Seymour Glass was not a sex offender. He never asked Sybil to look at 'his bananafish' as some ignorant reviewer posted.

This is a story about desperation, about a man who was exhausted of trying to fit into a society where he was not welcomed. In the beginning, with the conversation between Muriel and her mother, the reader can sense that Seymour might be mentally or emotionally unstable. Muriel is not like Seymour at all, she's superficial and centered around mate
...more
Maureen
Nov 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
First published in 1948, J.D.Salinger’s ‘A Perfect day for Bananafish’ is a short but strangely hypnotic read.

Seymour Glass is a War Veteran, and it’s clear to all, that his wartime experiences have left him mentally scarred. The main part of the story follows a telephone conversation between Seymour’s wife Muriel, (who is on holiday with her husband) and her mother. The mother is extremely worried about Muriel and Seymour going off on holiday - she doesn’t think Seymour is up to such a trip, an
...more
Tamar overwhelmed by work - on temporary hiatus
J. D. Salinger’s A Perfect Day for Bananafish was first published in The New Yorker magazine in 1948. It is a beautifully written short story that contrasts between the mundane, normal world we all take for granted and what appears to be the world of a disturbed and broken, gentle spirit, Seymour, a war veteran possibly suffering from PTSD. We learn early on, in a telephone conversation between Seymour’s young wife, Muriel Glass, and her mother, that Seymour’s behavior is troubled/troubling and ...more
Sarah Gardner
Mar 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Easily one of the greatest short stories I've ever read. When I can spend more time thinking about the text than actually reading it, I know I've found something special. ...more
Steven Godin
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Stunning piece of writing. Read this on it's own before later reading as part of 'Nine Stories' which I reviewed. This short story was the opening story featured in Nine Stories, but first appeared in the January 1948 issue of the New Yorker. It's arguably his best short story and the one that bought him critical acclaim. It was also the first time Salinger used the character of Seymour Glass (he would go on to chronicle the Glass family siblings in later stories). Using great dialog to set the ...more
K
Jun 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
"I see you're looking at my feet," he said to her when the car was in motion.
"I beg your pardon?" said the woman.
"I said I see you're looking at my feet."
"I beg your pardon. I happened to be looking at the floor," said the woman, and faced the doors of the car."


"A Perfect Day for Bananafish" contrasts the world of children, imaginative, curious, pure, and innocent with the world of adults materialistic, selfish, shallow. As you can see, the story glorifies children and to some degree condem
...more
Rowland Pasaribu
Jun 20, 2010 rated it liked it
“A Perfect Day for Bananafish” appeared in the New Yorker in 1948 and was later republished as the opening story in the collection Nine Stories(1953). In “A Perfect Day for Bananafish,” Salinger introduces the Glass family, who would become recurring characters in his fiction. In the next ten years, Salinger published three other Glass family stories in the New Yorker: “Franny,” “Zooey,” and “Raise High the Roof-Beam, Carpenters.” These stories appear in Salinger’s other books, which include Fra ...more
Wendy
Mar 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
I remember the day I read this book. It was hot outside and I was at achool and out teacher made us read an excerpt. I've never really liked books that I was forced to read but this one reached out to me so when I got home I got on the computer, found a copy and read it.

It made me think, and that's what I love about literature.
The main is complex and the whole thing is so sad. I LOVE IT.

If you're debating reading this, trust me, you should.
...more
Lea
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviews, read-2017
I want to be clear -- just because I loved this one doesn't mean I understood it. There are MUCH better reviews that are able to deconstruct this story and explain the themes and characters in ways that I'm simply incapable of doing. Or even understanding. But what I CAN say is that Seymour struck a nerve in me that I can't really articulate. I absolutely hated The Catcher in the Rye -- although I keep thinking maybe I should read it yet again and see if I've changed my mind about it -- so this ...more
Katy
Nov 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Wonderfully descriptive! This short story is a real roller coaster ride of emotions, from concern and anxiety, to idle banter, fun fantasy, to confusion to tragedy, and it is completed with beautiful descriptions that let you feel each intense emotion.
Mohsin Maqbool
Nov 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
THE protagonist Seymour Glass has been scarred from his experiences in World War II and is suffering from psychological distress. He is a total misfit in a world that seems to be guided by greed and materialism. He has no real outlet for the complicated and bottled-up emotions he carries inside him. He is certainly not getting the tender loving care he needs as he has been released early from the Army hospital.
Seymour shuns the pretentious world of adults and seeks refuge in children. He seems
...more
Yumi Kaioh
Jun 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
fucking shit, now it makes sense

damn
Gorab Jain
Feb 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: short-stories, z2017
Came across this as a reference in The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
Like Mr Fikry, I'm also fond of short stories. And Catcher in the Rye was very amusing.... and so decided to give it a go.

Unfortunately I didn't get it :(
Alright, I did enjoy that phone call conversation, the beach, the writing style and all.... believing it is leading somewhere. Was it?
Guess you have to read deep between the lines to know where its headed.... or whether the title makes some sense?

Not for me. This was the first sto
...more
yengyeng
Mar 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
The road leading to suicide is filled with deepest darkest despair, with a couple of stuffed dogs strewn along the curb maybe, but the final act is performed in a moment of clarity. In sun-kissed primary colours.
Dana West
Apr 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Did anyone else see Seymour as a sex offender? He had Sybil look at his "bananafish" and then he shot himself...in front of his wife.

I could postulate that Seymour suffered PTSD from The War. I could make the stretch and say that Muriel was superficial.

I could say that Muriel's mother was trying to keep the conversation "light" while Muriel was asking for advice or help or something.

I could say that Sybil was a symbol of innocence, but then again, I would have to come back to the idea that Sey
...more
Eva B.
Nov 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, 5-star
My favorite short story, hands-down.
I've probably read this upwards of 5 times, although most of those were for a school project. Phenomenal dialogue, and the ending gives me chills every goddamn time.
...more
Aleksandra
Full disclosure: I’ve read this story because I’m watching Banana Fish anime and I need to know the connection between the anime and this short story.

A Perfect Day for Bananafish is masterfully written. I’m in awe how much information Salinger managed to include into 20 page story without directly talking about these topics. The story is concise and impactful.

Originally, it was published in 1949. The story is about a young man who fought in World War II and now he’s on a vacation with his wife.
...more
Cole Blouin
Jun 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This short story is written in absolutely crystal-clear prose taking the idea of show, don't tell, to an extreme I've never encountered before. As such, with its abrupt ending (as many of the stories within Nine Stories), it leaves as many questions as it does answers. A second reading reveals a few more details; by the third I've started to get a full picture. Salinger is quite possibly my favorite author for this reason: it's easy to read the story and know what happened, but upon asking, "Why ...more
Damon
Aug 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
My senior year of high school, I got on a JD Salinger kick and read everything I could find. The Norwegian exchange student that was staying with us and I would sit out on the deck that spring, making ourselves Tom Collins's and reading Salinger. (at least I read Salinger. I don't remember what he read. Do you remember, Thor??) ...more
Emily Squadra
Nov 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A Perfect Day for Bananafish. What a whimsical name for such a serious story.

I will be honest, the first pass through this story led me to believe that Seymour was sexually interested in children and as a result decided to kill himself. There were several things that led me to believe that. For one, his interaction with Sybil is definitely flirtatious - he comments on her swimsuit, he asks her to "come closer," tells her she is looking "fine," is constantly touching her feet, the "memory and de
...more
Beth
Sep 14, 2011 rated it it was ok
I didn't get it.

I'll be the first to admit that. J.D. Salinger and I just never hit it off. I can feel the tempo of Salinger's writing, but it refuses to 'click' for me. I can understand why people would think that this speaks for an angsty, existentalist (sorry, butchered word there) culture. Perhaps it does. Perhaps I'm just not a membeer of that culture. I loved the rhythm and flow of Seymour and...the little girl's conversation. Except I've totally forgotten her name, which should tell you h
...more
Sanaa Hyder
Dec 23, 2020 rated it did not like it
I’m reading short stories on this list here.

I recall not enjoying The Catcher in the Rye almost a decade ago, so right off the bat: I was on edge as I read this.

There’s a girl with an over-involved mother with respect to the girl’s marriage and other life affairs. There’s a creepy almost-pedophilic man. And there’s talk of bananafish...which made me very concerned for the little girl who spoke almost like a fully grown adult.

And then that end. It made me laugh. Did not see that coming. It was li
...more
Angelica Castillo
Jun 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
It was a bright sunny day.

Seymour Glass came from a war and he is on a vacation along with his wife. Muriel Glass, his wife, is aware that he has been mentally unstable since the war yet she does not do anything about it. Her parents are worried about her but she refuses to go home because she hasn't been in a vacation in a long time. While Muriel is in the hotel, Seymour is outside talking with Sybil Carpenter, a little girl. He tells her a story about a Bananafish who tend to swim into holes a
...more
Melissa
Aug 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I thought that it was deep. I love the unseen commentary in this short story. There are a lot of "banana fish" in our world - meaning that there are a lot of greedy people. When I had to read the first page of this short story, I thought that Muriel was a murdered by killing her husband - the rings that were in the bathroom, her left hand stretched away, & removing the stain out of her dress vs. some in my class saw her as some sort of a harlett that was paid for her services however, that wasn' ...more
Inday
Nov 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Suicide fascinated people, J.D. Salinger fans
An Interesting short story, about a man who shoots himself after he tells a story about his so-called Bananafish to a young girl on a beach. Now, don't get me wrong, the girl DID NOT instigate the suicide if thats what you think.


...more
Mohamed Sall
Nov 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This was actually recommended to me by Gabriel, and he was right -- this was the best short story I've ever read. This story forces you to read from the historical lens. Salinger compares his experiences in WWII and his post-traumatic stress to Seymour Glass' post-traumatic stress after coming back from the war. This book has many different themes as well. The bananafish, for instance, symbolized Seymour's emotions being built up and then eventually going away when he committed suicide. ...more
Rochelle
Jun 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: e-reader
I feel terrible that I read the last line first it ruined that element of surprise. I was surprised at how well developed the characters were in 10 short pages.
Uday
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I know, I know, it is in Nine Stories. But before I get to the whole collection, let me just put it out here exclusively, to show how exquisite this short piece is.
Shea
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
1. This is my favorite short story.
2. Seymour is a good person
3. The ending of this is beautiful.
Andrew Rogers
Feb 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
I don't normally add short stories on here, but it's J.D. Salinger. It's based on a recurring family name, the Glass family, that appears in many of his stories. The themes in the story can be viewed as disturbing or morbid, but PTSD is real and affects people in tragic ways, as seen here. Writer's note: If you're having trouble writing dialogue, read this story. ...more
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Author Support Group: A Perfect Day for Bananafish 1 18 Apr 13, 2014 08:59PM  

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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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