for esmé— with love and squalor

For Eiji— with Love and Squalor (Banana Fish first impressions)

“What happens to who?”

“The bananafish.”

“Oh, you mean after they eat so many bananas they can’t get out of the banana hole?”

“Yes,” said Sybil.

“Well, I hate to tell you, Sybil. They die.”

“Why?” asked Sybil.

“Well, they get banana fever. It’s a terrible disease.”

-an exchange between Seymour Glass and six year-old Sybil Carpenter, A Perfect Day for Banana Fish, J.D. Salinger

Feature writers are gifted with dialogue. Their task is to then craft a story around those words, which can be a blessing and a curse. How much should be left on the cutting room floor? Should you, the writer, become a narrator?

How much of yourself should you put in a feature?

The line between feature and fiction is often blurred. Authors of fiction draw on their own experiences. Their works are full of personal anecdotes and even when a writer tries to avoid taking a more personal tack their point of view will subconsciously bleed into their words.

What does this have to do with J.D Salinger’s A Perfect Day for Bananafish and Akimi Yoshida’s Banana Fish manga, or the recent anime adaptation?

What is a bananafish?

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