A young and ambitious writer named Jerome David Salinger set his goals very high very early in his career. He almost desperately wished to publish his early stories in The New Yorker magazine, the pinnacle, he felt, of America’s literary world. But such was not to be for several long years and the length of one long world war.
The New Yorker, whose tastes in literary matters were and remain notoriously prim and fickle, was not quite ready for this brash and over-confident newcomer with the cynical worldview and his habit of slangy dialogue. But other magazines were quick to recognize a new talent, a fresh voice at a time when the world verged on madness. Story magazine, an esteemed and influential small-circulation journal devoted exclusively to the art of the short story and still active and respected today, was the first publication to publish the name J.D. Salinger and the story "The Young Folks" in 1940, an impressive view of New York’s cocktail society and two young people talking past one another, their conversation almost completely meaningless and empty.
Three Early Stories is the first legitimately published book by J.D. Salinger in more than 50 years. Devault-Graves Digital Editions, a publisher that specializes in reprinting the finest in American period literature, is proud to bring you this anthology by one of America’s most innovative and inspiring authors.
©2014 The Devault-Graves Agency (P)2014 The Devault-Graves Agency
It's been a long time comin' but what a thrill to listen to these early Salinger stories. In all argument - these are not Salinger's "best" but anything Salinger puts a pen to is always at once AMAZING. His voice is singular; simple, eloquent and drop dead gorgeous. I found myself laughing out loud many times. The pitch perfect narration enhanced Salinger's voice helmed by the amazing Mike Dennis. Oftentimes I couldn't help but thing of the young Holden Caulfield as Mike Dennis captured the banter of Salinger's "fer chrissakes" and personal patter so succinctly and beautifully. A rare and beautiful treasure.
We read to know, we are not alone ~ C.S. Lewis
One of the best qualities of J.D. Salinger’s writing is his characters: their interactions that are laden with nuanced layers and characterized with conversations that are so realistic and natural in feel that you could overhear any one of them anytime. Not one who lays out the obvious conclusion, Salinger’s work leads you to the conclusions that he wants, or leaves you with enough information to make a decision for yourself: either way you will walk away with a different perspective and the feeling that you have entrée into some secrets you never knew before.
In this collection, three of his short stories are gathered together and carry a common thread in the interactions between the characters. Salinger is not only proving himself as the consummate observer of human behavior, but his skill in word choice and deft manipulation of the reader’s emotions as the stories all carry very specific starts, climaxes and conclusions.
Starting with The Young Ones, a group of college aged people are gathered at a party, and the story shows those “small talk” moments between people, gossip, connections and innuendo. With dialogue that clearly shows inattention and disinterest, it is one of those scenes all too familiar to many.
In the second story, Go See Eddie, the purported simple interaction between a brother and sister gradually increases in malice as the two butt heads over a simple request. But, as with all things Salinger, simple requests are often nothing close to straightforward, and his ability to use his observational skills is highlighted as he sets the scene, describing the room to the smallest detail, including the patterns of sunshine.
Lastly is also the oldest story, Once a Week Won’t Kill You, a series of reminiscences and emotions that hit with great poignancy, as a young man heading to war is preparing his family for his leaving. Laden with what was and what will come all manage to layer the story with both a temporary and final goodbye, the emotional impact of the ‘possible’ is only revealed in the description of the action moments: deliberately to vaguely, done in such a way that while voices don’t crack, you just know the emotions are just below the surface.
Narrated by Mike Dennis, the first story started off a touch rough and felt very “read” rather than performed in the early sentences, he quickly managed to remove that slight hesitancy from his delivery and the story started to flow smoothly. His voice is slightly gruff, and that works well for the male characters, clipping or drawing out sounds and words to add the emotion necessary. For the female voices he does not (thankfully) over-reach for a particularly female tone, rather taking a softer sibilance and raising the pace slightly, not particularly ‘female’ in sound, but clearly feminine in pattern and approach. There is no overreach or overly exaggerated delivery here, each choice, like Salinger’s words, is carefully approached and consistently applied.
If you are a fan of Salinger, or you want a particularly good collection of short stories in written or audio form, this is the collection for you.
I received an AudioBook copy of the title from the producer for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
I am open to reviewing quality products.
It was very well written but the scenes lacked a point. The stories felt like they were pulled from a bigger book. There really was no real detail of where the story was going or even why the reader should care.
It you are a fan of Salinger's prose, then you will love it, I was not a huge fan so it did not work as well for me. The stories flow nicely, they just never go anywhere.
He has a awesome voice that really kept me engaged, even after I was bored with the story. Such a yummy deep timber that was a joy to listen to throughout. He had clear voices that stayed consistent in each story. I would love to hear more of his reads, especially on smexy books!
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts, opinions and ratings are my own.
Kipp Poe Speicher
In my top five of re listening to
Salinger ability to draw the reader in with his details and conversation verbaly and conversations only in the characters head.
Yes I have and he is becoming one of my favorite performers. He has a way to distinguish each of the characters voices without being distracting, and also captures the dialect of the region the story is taking place
Yes and then listen to again one I will return to I'm sure.
A collection of very short stories that will leave you to pounder them long after you listen to them. A perfect addition to my library.
I live in the Southernmost Point of US, Key West, FL
A good short story must be descriptive enough to quickly identify the characters early on. Then, as quickly as the end arrives, one sentence changes everything you thought your character to be. The writer accomplishes a surprise but subtle ending.
Story telling was a way of life when I was growing up. Mike Dennis, is telling the story like we are all casually sitting on a porch on a quiet afternoon sharing old times.
He has the perfect tell tale voice.
I loved the dialogue between the characters. It seemed so real. I also loved the narrator's delivery, especially the way he performed men's voices. It added to the characters.
The way the dialogue sounded so natural.
This is the first time that I listened to his work.
I doubt a movie could be made out of these short stories.
Old-fashioned, literary stories that hint at Salinger's greatness.
Yes, for the pleasure of it.
Yes - it's literature that's fun to hear.
Mike has the perfect voice to bring characters alive who, atypically in Salinger's work, are described and revealed entirely by what they say. So Mike Dennis brings them peculiarly alive in these "Three Early Stories."
Very much so.
This selection demonstrates the genius (not too strong a word) of Audible Com in selecting the right narrator for its works. Each of the characters in Salinger's "Three Early Stories is quite different and each one’s character revealed solely through the voice. Dennis has the brilliant ability to engage one’s ear with the character being quoted and the emotion being cued. A significant achievement for this particular medium.
This audiobook ranks high among my many, many listened to books for its vintage nature combined with the great narration of Mike Dennis. Listening to the book, I felt like I was in a black and white smoky room with characters dressed from the 40's.
I read Salinger in high school, and we spent a lot of time studying the deeper meaning behind his characters. Although the stories were short, you could hear Salinger's intent for the characters from his rich language.
I have not but love his melodious voice and have one in the docket ready to listen to!
Yikes! I found the men abrasive or scary and the women weak.
I'm ashamed to admit that I had never read anything by Salinger before so I thought these short stories would be a good introduction to his work. I definitely enjoyed all three and was pleased that all three were completely different. The narration was very good and easy to listen to.
People say I resemble my dog (and vice-versa). He can hear sounds I can't hear, but I'm the one who listens to audiobooks.
J.D. Salinger was adamant about not allowing his early works to be reprinted in later years, after he became a popular author. He didn't believe them good enough to be preserved for posterity in book form. He only ever authorized the publication of 14 of his short stories (all but one of which originally appeared in The New Yorker, which he believed to be the major league of short story publication), as well as of course his only novel, The Catcher in the Rye.
Nevertheless, all of his previously published short stories were in fact collected in a bootleg edition, one that he tried hard to quash but remains in circulation (a handful of unpublished stories recently surfaced in a separate bootleg edition). Having read all of his stories in their crude print form, and having now listened to these three character sketches in audio format, there is no disputing Salinger's self-evaluation. These are clearly not equal to the master work he published in Nine Stories and the three Glass family volumes (though to be honest, despite being a huge fan, I have a hard time with the overly dense and overlong Seymour and Hapworth).
But it is still highly worthwhile for Salinger fans to read/listen to these stories, warts and all. They may not be perfect, but they show the early developmental stages of a writer who would soon grow into one of the best ever -- like watching old video of Wayne Gretzky as a child showing glimpses of Hall of Fame greatness. The first of these stories in particular, which happens to be Salinger's first published work, presages The Catcher in the Rye, with a guy and a girl home from college trying to connect at a party.
The stories also happen to be somewhat dated in their slang, being from the early 40s, and there is a lot of repetition in Salinger's dialogue as he tries to capture the speech patterns of a variety of characters from that era (as he did to perfection in many of the Nine Stories). On the plus side, Salinger's nearly exclusive reliance on dialogue to convey his story, themes, and characterizations, a hallmark of his short stories, is on full display here.
I'd say, at the end of the day, that this short audiobook is best suited for Salinger completists and not as an introduction for people who have never read him before. Normally, I'd direct the latter group to better known works, but in this case, none of Salinger's books are readily available in audio (except hard to find versions recorded for blind readers, or illegally). One can only hope that that will be soon rectified, along with plans to release much of his never published writing in the wake of his passing.
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