Stories about Squalor

“I prefer stories about squalor.” “About what?” I said, leaning forward. “Squalor. I’m extremely interested in squalor” … “Are you at all acquainted with squalor?” —J.D. Salinger, “For Esmé, with Love and Squalor” (1950) Salinger’s Glass family were my sort of people. I wanted to be Franny—super bright, wearing a sheared raccoon coat with a gold-plated swizzle stick in the pocket. Mensa even. I just had to practise a little, get the vibrato right and I could be the youngest fiddle student at the Juilliard School of Music. Franny and Zooey belonged to the weird, dysfunctional family, with an elder…

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