Who you callin' a phony? From her 1962 Harper's review of J.D Salinger's Frany and Zooey, here's Mary McCarthy:
Like Hemingway, Salinger sees the world in terms of allies and enemies. He has a good deal of natural style, a cruel ear, a dislike of ideas (the enemy’s intelligence system), a toilsome simplicity, and a ventriloquist’s knack of disguising his voice. The artless dialect written by Holden is an artful ventriloquial trick of Salinger’s, like the deliberate, halting English of Hemingway’s waiters, fishermen, and peasants — anyone who speaks it is a good guy, a friend of the author’s, to be trusted.
The Catcher in the Rye, like Hemingway’s books, is based on a scheme of exclusiveness. The characters are divided into those who belong to the club and those who don’t — the clean marlin, on the one hand, and the scavenger sharks on the other. Those who don’t belong are “born that way” — headmasters, philanthropists, roommates, teachers of history and English, football coaches, girls who like the Lunts. They cannot help the way they are, the way they talk; they are obeying a law of species — even the pimping elevator operator, the greedy prostitute, the bisexual teacher of English who makes an approach to Holden in the dark.
It is not anybody’s fault if just about everybody is excluded from the club in the long run — everybody but Ring Lardner, Thomas Hardy, Gatsby, lsak Dinesen, and Holden’s little sister Phoebe. In fact it is a pretty sad situation, and there is a real adolescent sadness and lonely desperation in The Catcher in the Rye; the passages where Holden, drunk and wild with grief, wanders like an errant pinball through New York at night are very good.
[Image Via: Fauxtografee]